Everyone that plays at the University of Arizona is a Wildcat for life, but Joseph Blair takes that phrase to the next level. Since the end of his successful basketball career in Europe, it seems as if Blair has been at every Wildcat event, involved in every Arizona fundraiser, and is always donating his time to help local youth.
This time the event is the 1st Annual “Toast to Tucson,” a beer and wine tasting event at the Fire and Spice lounge inside the Sheraton Hotel in Tucson. The event is on April 1st and is sponsored by the Arizona Basketball Alumni Foundation, but it seems every time we hear about it Blair is the one doing the promoting.
The Fire and Spice Lounge is a satisfying, social, cozy dining experience. The acclaimed signature restaurant offers a modern twist on Arizona cuisine with the influences of the Southwest and Native American artisan recipes. This event is a great way to get friends and family together to learn about wine and experiment with new or unusual varieties.
Proceeds go to the Alumni Foundation. General Admission tickets are $50, but of course larger donations are accepted.
PointGuardU.com first got to know Blair when he hosted the annual Boys and Girl’s Club Steak and Burger Dinner a few years ago. PGU bought two tables for the event so our members could attend. It was a great time, as coach Sean Miller, who had just been hired, spoke at the event. Numerous ex-Cats were in attendance and everyone had fun catching up with the former players.
Blair gave PGU a tremendous amount of face time and we learned just how valuable of a local figure he has become. Blair can be seen everywhere, from watching games at McKale, to hosting the Out of Bounds Radio show with good friend and former player Corey Williams, to participating in just about every charity event out there.
“Tucson gave me so much, and launched my professional career,” said Blair. “Now that I am done playing I want to give back as much as possible. Most athletes don’t realize that even more important than money is donating our time, and I want to do that as much as possible.”
Blair wasn’t kidding. He is setting a great example for future alumni, and the results are obvious. Often times five minutes with a child can do much more than writing a check.
“Professional athletes know how valuable their time is while they are playing,” explained Blair. “But many of them don’t realize that it’s just as valuable after their careers are over. Whether it’s the promotion that comes with attaching your name to a fundraiser, or the impact you can have by helping out children in need, athletes have a unique opportunity to give back to the community.
“The game of basketball did so much for me and my family. If I can help kids learn and enjoy the sport, I know I’m making a difference in their futures. Besides spending time with my family, giving back to the community is the most fulfilling thing I can do.”
PGU last spent time with Blair at the Tip-Off Taste in Phoenix the night before the ASU game. As always, Blair was gracious and appreciative and took a few minutes out of his busy day to chat with us.
“I love giving back to the fans, and that’s exactly what PGU does,” said Blair. “I’m happy to help in any way I can.”
Blair is the perfect example of what makes Arizona basketball so special. The close knit community has always been a selling point for the program, but to see former athletes so heavily involved at the local level says more than words ever could. If you see him around town, be sure to take a moment to say hello and find out about the next fundraiser.
Information on Blair’s numerous events and organizations can be found on his Facebook page. Blair can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Information on the Toast to Tucson can be found at Arizona Basketball Alumni Foundation