The NBA, National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and Nike today unveiled a special Black History Month warmup shirt that will be worn by all teams throughout February. Featured on the front of the shirt are 14 words that were chosen by several current NBA players. The words (Unify, Perseverance, Activate, History, Believe, Dream, Empower, Engage, Equality, Inspire, Justice, Lead, Listen and Love) speak to the influence of black history and culture on basketball and society, and reflect NBA players’ longstanding commitment to equality and diversity through using the game of basketball to bring people together.
The shirts are part of Nike’s Equality collection and are available for purchase on NBAStore.com and in stores throughout the country. All NBA proceeds from those sales will be donated to MENTOR, which the NBA has partnered with to promote the impact mentors can make in young people’s lives since 2014.
The warmup shirt is just one piece of the NBA’s leaguewide celebration of Black History Month. Throughout February, members of the NBA family will host nearly 100 special events and programs to shine a light on the contributions of African-Americans, the legacy and impact of black culture on the game, and the importance of empowering and mentoring future generations.
Below is a small sample of what is to come over the next four weeks:
- The Bulls will host a private viewing of Marvel’s Black Panther film for 100 students in underserved communities. Following the film, a group of panelists will discuss the movie, it’s impact, and careers in art and entertainment.
- Leading up to premiere of Black Panther, the Bulls will partner with After School Matters design students to launch a Comic Strip Challenge. After School Matters is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities to more than 15,000 Chicago high schoolers. Students will learn from an African-American history professor and comic book historian to create their own comic strip, and then attend the Bulls vs. Wizards Black History Month game.
- The Bulls will host a Black History Through the Arts showcase at the United Center on February 16th for students and their families from After School Matters. This event will feature the talents of students from ASM’s spoken word, African drumming, dance and music programs.
- On February 24 and 25, the Bulls will partner with the Leaders Network and NAACP to support a Black History Month basketball tournament that will bring together young men ages 18-24 on Chicago’s west side. The tournament will highlight the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders and their promotion of peace and unity within our neighborhoods. Former Bulls players & personalities will participate.
- In partnership with Chance the Rapper and SocialWorks, the Bulls will recognize Chicago Public School students and educators making a difference in their school’s arts programs through in game video, and will support SocialWorks Black History Month Film Festival which showcases African American films throughout the month on Chicago’s south side.
- In honor of Black History Month and to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s efforts towards Civil Rights, students were asked to submit an essay around the topic “Advancing ‘The Dream’: Taking the Next Step to Improving My Community” for the Black History Month Challenge. The five winnersand their families will be flown to Atlanta on Friday, February 2, 2018 for an exciting 3-day/2-night educational experience to visit the birth home of Dr. King, the King Center and other historic sites.
Golden State Warriors:
- The Warriors are working with BAYCAT to create a 4-part series as their Black History Month celebrations. BAYCAT is a nonprofit that provides access, education and employment for low income youth, youth of color and young women. On February 6, the Warriors will debut their “Black in the Bay” Music Video, which was written, produced and performed by BAYCAT youth. The video will feature players and local community members and honor the legacy of black culture in the Bay Area.
New York Knicks
- The Knicks will host a Black History themed night on Tuesday, February 6 when they play Milwaukee, including a pregame panel discussion, “Breaking Barriers: Exploring Diversity in Sport,” moderated by Swin Cash and featuring Steve Mills (President, Knicks), Scott Perry (General Manager, Knicks) and additional Knicks executives.
- In partnership with the We Are Family Foundation, the Harlem Gospel Choir along with Nile Rodgers and Kathy Sledge appear for a special halftime performance.
- The Knicks and adidas are partnering with education technology company, Everfi, to launch their 306 Black History curriculum in five high schools throughout the city. The initiative, which informs and inspires students through stories of African Americans and celebrates pioneers in Black History, will feature Knicks personnel integrated into the digital learning platform.
- On Wednesday, February 28 the Knicks will hold a Youth Thought Leadership Symposium at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The symposium will host students who participated in the Everfi306 program and will feature a panel discussion about the black youth experience.
- The Knicks are partnering with African American street photographer Steven John Irby, bringing the New York City natives craft to Madison Square Garden to serve as an official photographer for multiple home games throughout Black History Month.
- Garrett Temple and George Hill have each “adopted a high school” and serve as mentors to student athletes throughout February. Inspiring students to become on-campus leaders that address issues their fellow students may face, the program launched with two town halls, and since then, Garrett and George have made several return visits to games and events to check in with the students.