The Chicago Bulls have been one of the biggest stories of the NBA this season, with star turns from DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine leading them to the best record in the Eastern Conference.
After showing other teams how it’s done on the court for the past three months, last week, the Bulls also set an example for the rest of sports about how to take a Pride Night celebration to the next level.
Instead of merely splashing their logo in rainbow colors and watching the merch fly off the shelves, the Bulls decided to go all out in celebrating and embracing LGBTQ culture. The end result was a halftime show to remember.
The team’s in-game entertainment crew pulled out all the stops, with Benny the Bull serving bovine fabulosity realness taking the court in a rainbow wig and tux. He was surrounded by the Luvabulls dance team dressed in the colors of the Pride flag.
What followed was not just a simple choreographed routine but a full-on celebration of the LGBTQ community. As Chicago Tribune beat writer Laura Poe described it on Twitter:
when the Bulls said they were doing a Pride night I was honestly expecting a little rainbow activation, not watching Benny the Bull pretend to officiate a gay wedding at center court with a drag queen presiding over the event— Julia Poe (@byjuliapoe) January 8, 2022
One member of Bulls Twitter captured a clip of the performance which shattered the record for fierceness to running time ratio…
This wasn’t just an ordinary Pride celebration. This was the closest we’ve come to transporting Market Days to Chicago’s Westside. At that point, all the Bulls had left to do was replace the United Center’s overpriced Budweiser with overpriced Truly.
The Bulls are no strangers to playing a featured role in real-life LGBTQ weddings, having assisted fans and boyfriends Jake Conrad and Michael Holtzman in an on-court proposal in 2016. It still deservedly pops up on any search for feel-good gay proposal videos.
According to one of Poe’s Twitter mentions, the drag queen taking part in the Pride Night wedding dance was Chicago’s Aria B. Cassadine, a current contestant on “Queen of the Universe.” In addition to rocking the choreography on the hardwood, the performance also included narrated highlights of LGBTQ history from Stonewall to Obergefell on the UC Jumbotron.
All of this was the result of a collaboration between the Bulls and Broadway performing artists JT Horenstein and Tony Guerrero. The dance power couple choreographed the halftime ceremony, designed the costumes, and composed the original music in collaboration with Bulls house disc jockey DJ Flipside.
As the Bulls put it in a news release, “The purpose of the show was to commemorate the LGBTQIA community’s contribution to pop culture, music, and fashion and highlight drag—an authentic art form of the gay community.”
Judging by the fan reaction, it was one of the most successful promotions of the year:
In fact, at the performance’s conclusion, all that was missing was a the sound of a Grindr message alert from Benny the Bull with accompanying pics. Which, to be fair, would probably have been too much to ask…
We stan a king.