Basketball seemed to be second on the mind of Joakim Noah Saturday night.
Following the win over the New York Knicks, the Bulls big man confirmed that the manager of rapper Lil Durk, who was shot and killed early Friday, was at an event of Noah’s just hours earlier to discuss a way to get involved in Noah’s “Rock the Drop” anti-violence campaign.
Uchenna Agina, 24, was shot at 1:50 a.m. Friday while sitting in a car in the 8400 block of South Stony Island Avenue, authorities said.
“It’s very sad,” Noah said. “What’s going on in this city is very real. I signed up for this, and you know that I’m just doing everything I can to do something positive. We just need to keep up the good fight. I know that everything I’m doing with my foundation comes from my heart, and I think it’s really important that we don’t turn our backs on anybody.
“I just know that someone came to my house and we were talking about doing some work for the kids, doing something positive, and he got murdered. I never experienced anything like that. My respects go to his family and to his friends. I just hope that we can find solutions.”
Noah has been promoting his anti-violence campaign most of the season, with his Arc Foundation providing the biggest push.
Noah said that while some people warned him to stay away from various rappers in the community, the death of Agina has made his resolve even stronger.
“No question, and we need everybody involved,” Noah said. “That’s why these rappers, a lot of people tell me to stay away from certain people. I’m not staying away from anybody. We need everybody involved in this. The reason why I think these rappers are important is even though their message is violent in Chicago, they are a force. And I want to engage with them and I want to work together with them to do something positive.
“I don’t want there to just … even though their message sometimes is negative and it might clash with the message that we’re bringing with the drop, their followers and the people that follow them is who I’m trying to reach.”