“I’m pretty excited. Each year brings something different whether it be different players coming out or different raffle prizes,” Daze Entertainment Basketball Owner Troy Dean tells Madison365. “It’s always good to be raising money for a great cause.”

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, May 6, they will be hosting their 6th annual “MS Gets On Our Nerves” basketball fundraiser at Pooley’s Restaurant on Madison’s east side.

The event features an entertaining match-up between the Daze basketball team and local celebrities in media, TV, sports, along with other community leaders, hip-hop artists and more. Dean says the celebrity team is made up of people he knows personally who have been outstanding in making the Madison community a better place to live. But you can hear a little worry in Dean’s voice because as talented as his Daze team is, last year’s celebrities were pretty darn good, too.

“The celebrity team gave us a really good battle last year and they are ready to get their revenge. I’ve been getting phone calls and everything,” Dean smiles. “I think they think they are going to win this year. They’ve got a couple new players on the team this year and they’ve actually told me, ‘Yeah, you guys are going down this year!’ They seem confident.”

Daze Entertainment Basketball and the Celebrity Team pose for a picture after a hard-fought game last year at MS Gets On My Nerves.
Daze Entertainment Basketball and the Celebrity Team pose for a picture after a hard-fought game last year at MS Gets On My Nerves.

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.

“All of the fun that’s on the court … all of the joking around and laughing and having a good time … that’s what the annual ‘MS Gets On Our Nerves’ fundraiser is all about,” Dean says. “There is that competitive spirit during the game but when it comes down to it we’re all just having a good time out there and raising money for a great cause.”

Daze is a creative Entertainment Basketball Team specializing in performing at events and fundraisers. It was created 11 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.

“Daze has been doing well. We have pretty much everybody returning that played last year and one of our dunkers, ‘Kid Dynamite’ will be flying in from Colombus, Ohio, on Friday night for the game. He’s a crowd-pleaser. He has an energy about him that everybody loves to be around,” Dean says. “He’s a great dunker! It’s a testament to his abilities when LeBron James chose him first in the Lebron James/Kobe Bryant All-Star Game. He chose Kid Dynamite to be on his team.”

Daze's Kid Dynamite soars for another dunk.
Daze’s Kid Dynamite soars for another dunk.

The Daze team does not just have great dunkers, but also amazing ball handlers. “Snake (Jesse Muench) will be there again. If nobody’s ever seen him dribble a basketball, it’s something you have to see. I’ve been around this guy for 11 years now and it still amazes me some of the things he can do with the basketball.”

Daze Entertainment Basketball has going strong since Dean founded the company back in 2006. Is Dean starting to feel a little old getting up and down that court dozens of times?

“Oh, yeah. Ohhhhhhhh, yeah. Each year the age catches up so each year I kinda bring on a couple of young guns … that way I can play for a couple of minutes and then sub out and enjoy the game,” Dean smiles. “It’s still fun, though. I can’t complain. Eleven years doing this … we’ve been around longer than some of the other, bigger entertainment basketball companies. It’s a testament to our players and our fan base.”

Daze Entertainment Basketball
Daze Entertainment Basketball

Multiple sclerosis (MS) hits close to home for Dean who has seen many people in his life affected by the disease. “Having friends who have been brought down by MS, it sheds a different light on things,” he says. “You hear about it, and it’s something that doesn’t just hit one race or one gender – it hits everybody.”

MS 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.

“Having friends – male and female – at different stages … I see what people go through. There are some people very functional and some people who have to use walkers and wheelchairs,” Dean says. “There is no known cure for this yet. As long as I have friends and acquaintances who are suffering from this, I want to help to try and find a cure for it.”

All proceeds from the 6th Annual MS Gets On Our Nerves event will go to the Wisconsin chapter of the National MS Society.

Two women with multiple sclerosis who have been dear to Dean have been the inspirations for the annual MS Gets On Our Nerves basketball fundraiser. It all started 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. They launched MS Gets On My Nerves six years ago and every year it has grown. The last few years, Autumn Neugent has taken over the organization of the annual event.

Sweat Shorties Hip-Hop dance group
Sweat Shorties Hip-Hop dance group

“Autumn has just been amazing with all of the things she does for the events,” Dean says. “It’s cool to see all of the people come out for an event like this to support people who have MS. It’s great to see the love and the people taking time out of their day to support this cause.”

Raffle prizes at the event will include things like flat screen TVs, Beats by Dre headphones, restaurant, salon, spa, and massage gift certificates and more. DJ Cam Jamz will emcee the event. The Sweat Shorties Hip-Hop dance group will be performing at halftime.

“I tell people that the basketball game is there for everybody’s entertainment, but there is so much all-around fun to this event,” Dean says. “And it’s a great chance to gain knowledge about MS, meet people who have been affected by it, and to contribute to a great cause. It’s a family event … all ages will be there.”

The 6th annual “MS Gets On Our Nerves” basketball fundraiser will be held on Saturday, May 6, noon at Pooley’s Restaurant on Madison’s east side. Suggestion donation for the event is $5/adult and $3/child.