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Former Bull shoots for a new kind  of championship

Former Chicago Bull Craig Hodges talks about 3-on-3 basketball tournament raise funds for Fox Valley Habitfor Humanity ReStore AurorTuesday January

Former Chicago Bull Craig Hodges talks about a 3-on-3 basketball tournament to raise funds for the Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Aurora on Tuesday, January 22, 2013. Hodges is the founder of Basketball School of America who will be helping put on the tournament. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 24, 2013 6:27AM

AURORA — Craig Hodges approaches his work these days just like he did when he was tossing in 3-pointers for the Chicago Bulls 20 years ago.

“I have the same feeling I have when we were getting ready to win championships,” Hodges said Tuesday at the ReStore at 4100 Fox Valley Center Drive in Aurora. “We don’t know what’s going to happen, but we know that if we all work together, we can do it, we can accomplish a lot.”

Hodges was a key player for the three Bulls championship teams between 1991 and 1993.

But today, at age 52, he feels he’s part of something bigger.

Through his California-based non-profit, Basketball for Schools of America, Hodges, a Chicago Heights native, is looking at partnering with several non-profits to help America’s youth, as well as Habitat for Humanity, the organization that helps people get houses through their own work.

Basketball for Schools of America is starting with a three-on-three basketball tournament, tentatively planned for early August in the Westfield Fox Valley Mall on Aurora’s far East Side. And that’s what brought Hodges Tuesday to the ReStore, run by Fox Valley Habitat for Humanity.

Matt Harrington, community and corporate development director for the ReStore in Aurora, said the hope is to go beyond the tournament and raise as much as $100,000 for Habitat. Hodges said he wants to push for help for youth, starting with youngsters and staying with them through their high school years.

“This has to be ongoing, more than a one-shot deal,” Hodges said. “I want everyone to know we’re in for the long haul.”

To that end, joining Hodges at Tuesday’s press conference were representatives from DCM Outreach, a ministry based in Robbins, and Kids Loving Each Other, or KLEO, a Chicago-based organization that fights domestic violence. Also there were organizations helping with the Habitat for Humanity effort in Aurora, the Aurora-based ad agency Bad Monkey Circus, and the Comedy Shrine in Aurora.

Details of the overall effort — including the actual dates of the tournament — still are being formed. But Hodges said it will focus on the ideas promoted by Habitat — teamwork, the idea that people must support each other.

“There are people who make money on violence, and we have to be the balance to that,” Hodges said. “We’ve got to be able to employ ourselves, to support ourselves. We have the most creative young people in the world — the social media is an example of that. If we’ve got all that creativity in this country, why aren’t we exploiting it?”

Dave Sinker, owner of the Comedy Shrine, said he teaches creativity and teamwork in his improv classes.

“Improv is just like basketball; it’s a team,” he said. “I teach the kids, you’re all in this together.”

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