(CBS) –– Chicago Bulls star Joakim Noah hopes it is a start in the effort to curb gun violence here: a public campaign he launched on Friday.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports Noah and his mother are encouraging people throughout the Chicago area to join them.

We’ve seen this before: The star athlete tossing around a ball with kids before TV cameras, pledging support for the community.

But people here on the West Side say Joakim Noah does much of his charitable work privately.

“Been doing it for years. These kids know Noah like he lives across the street,” 27th Ward Ald. Walter Burnett says.

Friday, though, Noah welcomed the attention at the Major Adams Community Center for his public campaign against gun violence.

Assists came from Noah’s mother, Cecile Rodhe and hip-hop star Common.

“I know the work that Joe puts in; I know his passion,” Common said.

But all acknowledged passion and good intentions alone won’t stop a problem that has plagued Chicago for generations.

“To me personally, this is just an important as winning a championship,” Noah said.

He is sponsoring a basketball tournament Saturday at the United Center for men between 18 and 24 years old who’ve pledged to work to end violence. It is not open to the public.

On the Noah’s Ark Foundation website people can learn about programs and services for the community.

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