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Sports Saturday

Listen and learn: New Bulls voice Adam Amin knows a little humaneness can go a long way

Amin, from west suburban Addison, will call NFL and MLB action for Fox Sports in addition to his NBC Sports Chicago duties. His mother and brothers are thrilled for him. His late father, Mohammed, would’ve been over the moon.

CFP National Championship
Amin, a native of the western suburbs, comes to the Bulls from ESPN.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The last text message Adam Amin received from his father came on March 5, 2018. It said the usual: “What time, what channel?”

Amin had a pair of American Athletic Conference women’s tournament semifinals to call that day in Uncasville, Connecticut, the first one on ESPNU and the second on ESPN2.

Mohammed Amin, then 80, would be eager to tune in. When it came to watching his fourth and youngest child — his baby boy — work, he always was.

During the second of those games, Adam Amin — all of 31 at the time and proving himself as one of the finest young broadcasters in ESPN’s stable — missed a call from the middle of his three older brothers.

“I knew something was strange,” he said.

His father had suffered a heart attack. The night’s work over, Amin quickly made for an airport in Boston that had a late flight home to Chicago. Riding in the back of a car, he learned he was too late.

“What I remember most about that night was the driver, a stocky Boston guy — Don — with a thick accent,” Amin said. “I’d never met him before. I remember hanging up the phone and just wailing in back. Don reached his hand back and held my hand. It was the most humane portion of that night.”

Amin, hired earlier this week to be the Bulls’ next play-by-play announcer on NBC Sports Chicago, has humaneness on his mind, as so many of us do. And not only humaneness, but urgency.

“Listening to black and brown people who feel like they haven’t been listened to is, frankly, more important than it has ever been,” he said.

Amin’s brothers — nine, 13 and 17 years older — were born in Pakistan. Mohammed and Zubeda named them Ismail, Abdullah and Mustafa. Only Adam was born here, with a name and an upbringing that were, well, a bit different.

Karachi, meet west suburban Addison.

“I haven’t dealt with certain things nearly as much as my brothers did, nearly as much as my father did when he first came,” said Amin, who is Muslim. “I have a very American name in a family without them. I’ve gotten a pass for a lot of that. I guess that’s my privilege.”

Mohammed Amin’s first job in the U.S. was in a factory. He later owned an Indo-Pak grocery story and a fast-food restaurant. For two decades, he worked security.

Mohammed and Adam Amin.

And he was a Bulls fans, as was his baby boy. Postseason games during the championship years of the 1990s were major events in the Amin household. Adam would shoot at a Nerf hoop during commercials, his father passing him the ball. As the action heated up for Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Adam would run to the bathroom and throw water on his face so he could “sweat” along with his heroes.

Starting this year — and assuming football and baseball happen — Amin, who lives downtown, will call NFL and MLB action for Fox Sports in addition to his Bulls duties. The United Center is a hop, skip and a jump away.

His mother and brothers are thrilled for him. His father would’ve been over the moon.

The Amins were big fans of former Bulls guard Steve Kerr. Long before “The Last Dance” documentary, they knew the tragic story of Kerr’s father, Malcolm, having been shot and killed in 1984 while president of the American University in Beirut.

“My dad loved Steve Kerr,” Amin said.

Amin’s first work assignment after Mohammed died happened to be a Warriors game. Amin met with the Warriors’ coach before the game for some routine prep. As they wrapped things up, they began talking about their fathers.

“I was very, very appreciative of the humanity there,” Amin said.

We all need it. Sometimes more than others.