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Gay marriage proposal at Chicago Bulls game, and he said, Yes!
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2016-12-20

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Jake Conrad scored an NBA Championship-worthy marriage proposal, thanks to a huge assist from the Chicago Bulls who, on Dec. 8, were playing host to Conrad's favorite team, the San Antonio Spurs, at the United Center.

The Bulls defeated the Spurs 95-91 that Thursday night, and Conrad officially scored the love of his life, Michael Holtzman, who he has been dating for almost three years after they met—brace yourself—on Grindr.

Holtzman is a lifelong Bulls fan, though he had never been to a game, and one of his long-term goals was to simply attend a game so he could see the life-size Michael Jordan statue that is outside the arena.

"Michael has been a fan of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls' [championship-winning] dynasty from the 1990s all his life. He often reminisces [about] turning on WGN-TV and watching every game with his brother," Conrad said.

Holtzman's infatuation with former Bulls great Jordan is seen in Holtzman's email and multiple personal passwords which even incorporate Jordan's famed jersey No. 23 or No. 45, which Jordan also wore, Conrad admitted.

Holtzman even won the Wisconsin State Art Show in high school for a pointillism picture of … you guessed it, Jordan.

"My original [marriage proposal] plans were to try to meet Michael Jordan, or to do a flash mob at the [Jordan] statue," Conrad said.

The Bulls made the proposal so much bigger, better and surprising—for Holtzman—and the world has been able to witness the magical moment and the cheering crowd via social media. The team's cheerleading team, known as the Luvabulls, changed their routine to showcase Conrad and Holtzman, and the team's mascot ( Benny The Bull ) played an integral role, too — and then cheered and pumped his fists in support when Holtzman said, "Yes."

"I never imagined the Chicago Bulls preparing such a magical moment," Conrad said. "I had seen other proposals, I just didn't believe that was something a same-sex couple could do. It still feels like a fairytale. Here we were at the Chicago Bulls game because of an organization that we have always deeply admired, and they took a giant step towards inclusion, acceptance, and equality putting together an unbelievably special moment in front of 21,000 people.

"The Chicago Bulls offered Michael and me a lifetime memory, but what they offered the LGBTQ community is an opportunity to experience love fully, equally, without shame, and without compromise."

Conrad said the post-proposal response has been "incredibly heartwarming."

"We are a sucker for a great love story; we both love the movie Silver Linings Playbook," he said. "We all must realize how fortunate we are to live in a society that embraces us and has shared this moment with us. Thank you for your kindness and support. It has been amazing to see how many people care. We are touched by the fabulous work of the Chicago Bulls and those that have shared our moment. We have yet to see any negative reactions."

Conrad, who played college volleyball at Lewis University and also has coached that sport, said that players he coached more than five years ago have shared his proposal video on social media and been re-connecting.

"It is always great to be a part of the village that raises kids. Reconnecting with them in their adult life is the best," he said.

Conrad and Holtzman got to meet Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen, the legendary Bulls' teammate of Jordan. They got a photo with him, too. "I truly think meeting Scottie Pippen may have outshined the proposal for [Holtzman]," Conrad joked.

Conrad and Holtzman also were given tickets to another Bulls game, a gift they weren't expecting when they drove to the United Center for the Spurs game.

Mary E. Linford of Goldmine Design Jewelers reached out after the proposal and inquired about the ring-pop that was part of their on-court proposal. Goldmine Design ( goldminedesignjewelers.com ) offered to make rings for both as a gift.

Holtzman will, no doubt, look for a friendly, loving revenge on Conrad's shocking national-spotlight proposal, and he isn't shy about what it will entail: getting Conrad to meet his idol, Ellen DeGeneres.

ï Watch the Conrad-Holtzman marriage proposal at the Bulls game on Dec. 8 below.



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