Since 2006, Daze Entertainment Basketball, a team of streetball players based out of Madison, has been sharing their talents at assembly, charity, and fundraiser games along with at a host of Madison-area schools. This Saturday, they will be hosting their 5th annual “MS Gets On Our Nerves” basketball fundraiser at Pooley’s Restaurant on Madison’s east side.
“It’s an event for the whole family,” Daze Entertainment Basketball Owner Troy Dean tells Madison365. “We have the basketball entertainment, of course, but we have a great raffle that will feature three different kinds of TV’s. The raffle will have everything you can think of from TVs to gift certificates to get your eyelashes done.”
Daze is a creative Entertainment Basketball Team specializing in performing at events and fundraisers. It was created ten years ago by Dean with three major goals in mind – entertainment, creativity, and positive community relationships. Out on the court, Daze Entertainment Basketball is very much like a mixture of the Harlem Globetrotters and the AND1 Mixtape teams.
Every year, the “MS Gets On Our Nerves” fundraiser sees the Daze team take on a team of local celebrities in a crowd-pleasing five-on-five basketball game that raises money for people affected by multiple sclerosis. The Daze team entertains the crowd with high-flying dunks, behind-the-back passes and super-fancy ball-handling, but every now and then the Celebrity Team has been known to pull off some magic of their own.
Multiple sclerosis (MS), also known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata, is an inflammatory disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms, including physical, mental, and sometimes psychiatric problems. Physical therapy and medications that suppress the immune system can help with symptoms and slow disease progression.
MS hits close to home for Dean who has seen many people in his life affected by the disease. “There will be people who have multiple sclerosis in attendance at this annual event and we will have people there who will be able to educate about M.S. and the different stages and be able to answer people’s questions about M.S.,” Dean says.
The idea for the annual MS Gets On Our Nerves basketball fundraiser came about a little over five years ago when Dean was talking with his old high school friend, Melanie Popp, who contacted him one day because she knew that Dean was famous locally for his charity basketball events. “She had heard about a cancer benefit game that we did in 2011 and she was wondering how the event went and how we went about putting it together. She asked me if I would be interested in doing something for MS,” Dean remembers. “I said, ‘Of course!’ I didn’t know at that point that she suffered from MS. But we took it from there and started contacting some people and we held the first event at the East Madison Community Center and the ball started rolling from there.”
Popp would move away to Florida but another old friend of Dean, Autumn Neugent, took over the organization of the annual event. “Autumn plays a huge part in making this event work,” Dean says. “She plays a big part in the raffle and the prizes and the venue … she takes care of all that stuff. We make a good team.
“I’ve known Autumn for over 20 years. She played high school hockey, volleyball and softball. She was an athlete. She was one of only two girls on the [Madison] East varsity hockey team when I was in high school,” Dean continues. “It really hit home with me at first because I was so used to seeing Autumn being such a great athlete and then to see her confined to a wheelchair … but if you know Autumn she is very strong and very witty and very determined.
“I sat down to talk with Autumn last weekend and we talked about all of the things that a person with MS has to go through,” Dean adds. “Autumn says that some days are better than others. Some days her energy level is low. Some days it can be a struggle. It feels good to be raising money for the M.S. Society. Some people need money for vehicles others need different kinds of help. Not only is it a fun event, but it feels good to be making a little difference.”
The event features an entertaining match-up between the Daze basketball team and local celebrities in media, TV, sports, along with other community leaders. Dean says that this year’s Celebrity Team is made up of people he knows personally who have been outstanding in making the Madison community a better place to live. “It’s people who don’t mind taking time out of their busy schedules to support a great cause,” Dean says. “We have a guy that owns a DJ company, we have a couple of semi-pro football players, we have Michael Johnson, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club, and we have local Hip-Hop artists. It’s people who want to make a difference.”
All proceeds from the event will go to the Wisconsin chapter of the National MS Society. As for the actual game, Dean says it’s not about who wins or loses (although the Daze Entertainment Basketball pretty much always wins).
“It’s about having a good time and helping people,” Dean says. “Kids have a blast at this event so we’re always happy to see them in attendance. With the style of basketball that we play, it’s very entertaining and kids gravitate towards it very quickly. But this is an event for the whole family. It’s a fun time and it’s supporting a very worthy cause.”
The 5th annual “MS Gets On Our Nerves” basketball fundraiser will be held on Saturday, April 30, 1 p.m. at Pooley’s Restaurant on Madison’s east side. Suggestion donation for the event is $5/adult and $3/child.