A Donation of $40,000 lands Lou Santaro a trip to the NBA Finals with the Boeheim’s!

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The Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation’s 19th Annual “Basket Ball Gala” was held Saturday at Turning Stone Resort and Casino.

The event raises funds to support the Boeheim Foundation, to help the lives of kids in need within the Central New York Community, as well as provide support for eliminating cancer through research.

Syracuse businessman Lou Santaro bid $40,000 for the opportunity. He submitted the winning amount for the trip with Jim and Juli Boeheim to the NBA Finals.

It was the highest bid ever for an item at the annual event, which has raised $7 million over the last 19 years for cancer research and programming for children in need in Central New York.

Santaro is a real estate investor and owner of Attilio’s restaurant on James Street. He can take three other people on the trip, and he has decided to choose his sons, Anthony, 21, and Nick, 19, but hasn’t figured out who the lucky third guest will be.

The flight, the dinner and the game tickets are donated by Adam Weitsman, a friend of Jim Boeheim’s and owner of the Upstate Shredding.

 

Santaro and his sons, who are both in college, are huge SU basketball fans. Flying with Jim Boeheim, talking about basketball over dinner with him and attending an NBA Finals game together will be a thrill. But Santaro said that’s not the only reason he bid on the trip.

He said Boeheim has come into his restaurant a few times and “I wanted to do something for the community and the Boeheim Foundation. I have great respect for Jim and Juli Boeheim and the work the foundation does.”

Santaro and his guests will fly with Boeheim and Weitsman on the scrap dealer’s Gulfstream business jet to one of this year’s NBA Finals games. The Boeheim Foundation valued the trip at $100,000.

Santaro did not attend the gala Saturday because he was at a conference. He sent a friend to bid for him. He said there were multiple bids for the trip.

The NBA finals are scheduled to start May 31. It’s not known yet which teams will play in the best-of-seven series, but when it is, Weitsman said he will check with Santaro to determine which game he would like to attend. The seats are expected to be within the first five rows from the court, he said.

Adam Weitsman said he met Jim Boeheim through mutual friends several years ago and the coach has become one of his closest friends. Weitsman said the coach is a different guy away from the court.

Jim Boeheim’s public persona is that of someone who is all business all the time. He won’t hesitate to express his feeling about a call he doesn’t agree with or a media report or question he does not like. But rather Adam says “He’s very driven and very passionate,” he said. “He loves the area. We both love the area. He loves the fans and he wants to do good for the university.” The two came up with the idea for the trip while having dinner  three weeks ago.

“We wanted to make it basketball related,” he said. “It was too late to go to the (NCAA’s) Final Four, so we decided to go to the NBA Finals. It should be a lot of fun.”

 

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A Donation of $40,000 lands Lou Santaro a trip to the NBA Finals with the Boeheim’s!