Event Center at McCormick Square Film Room Honors de Anda Family
Aug. 26, 2016
More Information: Event Center at McCormick Square | Supporting DePaul Athletics
The 1988 graduate in accountancy made a savvy move becoming a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors just before MVP Stephen Curry led them to the 2015 NBA title.
At roughly the same time, de Anda became deeply involved in helping his alma mater finance the new Event Center at McCormick Square that becomes the Blue Demons’ home court in 2017-18.
His efforts have helped the legion of loyal and partisan fans and alumni realize a longtime dream of once again chanting: “We Are DePaul” in the heart of one of the world’s greatest cities.
It began with a generous contribution and naming of the de Anda Family Film Room at the Event Center.
“We are proud supporters of DePaul and especially the athletic department,” de Anda said. “I always wished that the basketball program had their own arena, and so we jumped at the chance to participate when it was announced. We picked the film room because it is place where all the players and coaches get together to get better and gain an edge.
“I was really excited to hear about the new arena and wanted to be a part of it. The Event Center is like moving out of your parents’ home into your own pad. The Rosemont Horizon/Allstate Arena has been great for us, and we’ve had so many wonderful moments in the 36 years we’ve been there. We helped make that building famous.
“It’s time to move on. The new arena with its prime location and layout is going to have such an impact as a community-building venture. I am super excited about it, and I’m keeping my season tickets even though I’m 2,500 miles away.”
In the highly competitive world of investing where he is at the pinnacle of his profession, de Anda never allowed success to go to his head. He is keenly aware of his roots, humble and modest while never forgetting the help he received on his journey to the top.
“Going to DePaul was fantastic for me,” said de Anda, who played on the Blue Demon soccer team. “Everyone there was so great to me. I couldn’t have picked a better school to receive a great business education and be involved with the athletic department where I made some lifelong friends.
“DePaul could not have been a more perfect place for me with such caring people and teachers. I could do all these cool things like play soccer and work at the radio station---it was just awesome. I knew Jeanne (athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto) and she knew me. I still have relationships with some of my teachers and try to see them when I’m in town.”
In becoming part of the Golden State Warrior family, de Anda has witnessed first-hand the dramatic turnaround of a basketball program. The franchise suffered through 12 consecutive losing seasons from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s including a 17-65 record in 2000-01.
More recently, the Warriors endured four sub-.500 campaigns from 2008-09 through 2011-12. But new ownership and astute player personnel moves have turned the Warriors into one of America’s hottest tickets.
Now, de Anda would like nothing better than helping bring about a basketball renaissance in Lincoln Park and the South Loop.
“I believe the new arena will be a turning point in the fortunes of DePaul basketball,” said de Anda who created the de Anda Family Endowed Scholarship for men’s basketball. “I believe that Chicago's better players will want to stay home to play in it and that fans will want to come out to be part of it. Once we get the ball rolling, anything can happen.
“Bringing in great players is the next step of our return to nationwide prominence. Now we need our fans to return to support us at the games.
“It’s a funny thing about people who give back to DePaul based on the success they have on the basketball court. Right now is when the school needs it the most and when donors can have the most impact with the building of a new arena and everything. This is when your money can make the most difference. Once we’re back in the Top 10, everything will be rolling.”
When initially approached in 2010 about joining the Warriors’ ownership team, de Anda declined.
“That was one of the dumbest moves,” de Anda said. “As the ownership group found a need to raise more money for a new arena, I jumped at a second opportunity before the 2014-15 season, and it has been tremendous.
“I’m just a minority owner, but I’m so proud to be inside the ropes of such a great organization and to see what we can accomplish together. I mean, going 73-9 means we’re the greatest team ever. That’s pretty heady stuff.
“At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is whether you’ve got a parade. Not everyone gets to say that. I’m so happy, so excited for the team and this organization that puts the right people in the right places.”
Never before had de Anda experienced anything like being part of an NBA champion.
“It was almost too good to be true,” he said. “It was such a magical, fairy-tale journey. I’m not a surfer, but it was like catching the perfect wave and riding it to the end.
“As part of the ownership group, it’s been great developing personal relationships with people in the organization. The owners get together at home games, away games and during the playoffs. A Hall of Famer like Jerry West is a special advisor to the team and I get to see him. We all have the same passion---a singular goal of winning the NBA championship the right way.
“You are a part of it, and it’s special to see what everyone on the team is trying to accomplish. You’re so proud and happy to see people who are your friends being so successful and being able to share it with them.”
Although his Warriors fell just short of a repeat title, de Anda is fired up about the next journey.
“The NBA Finals are a whole another level of intensity that can last over two weeks,” he said. “It is mentally exhausting as every possession is so precious. Losing game seven at home was excruciatingly painful. I expect the Warriors to learn and bounce back stronger from this.
“It is super exciting to be able to add such a great player and an even better person like Kevin Durant to the organization,” de Anda continued in referring to the newest Warrior who just led the USA to the Olympic gold medal. “I think we will have some growing pains at first as everyone adapts to the new dynamic, and we’ve added some other new players this year. But once the Warriors get into a rhythm, it will be a joy to watch.
“I have been going to college and NBA basketball games since grade school. Basketball is such an amazing sport to see live. The success that DePaul had when I was younger and that the Warriors are experiencing now is intoxicating.”
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