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On Friday, the Cavaliers, in partnership with the REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign and Prison Fellowship®, had the very unique opportunity to go behind the walls of a local correctional facility. Cavs players, coaches and front office staff spent the afternoon at Grafton Correctional Institution to host a roundtable discussion and basketball game.
General Manager Koby Altman, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, the coaching staff and members of the business front office, including CEO Len Komoroski were in attendance. They were joined by players Andre Drummond, Darius Garland, Cedi Osman, Dante Exum, Collin Sexton and Dylan Windler.
The players, members of the coaching staff and leadership were among approximately 40 people that took part in the engaging roundtable, including residents of the facility and surrogates of the REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign, who are formerly incarcerated, and members of Prison Fellowship Academy. The discussion provided a chance for the group from many different walks of life to participate in a thoughtful conversation of shared experiences.
Afterwards, two teams – each consisting of a mix of Cavs coaches and incarcerated men – took the court for a basketball game that was part of a broader national initiative called Play for Justice, organized by the REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign. Coach Bickerstaff and Assistant Coach Lindsay Gottlieb served as the “official” coaches of the two teams, but were joined on the sidelines by the Cavs players, who drew up plays, called timeouts….and even challenged referee calls. Like games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Friday’s game included performances by the Scream Team and 216 Stix, who entertained facility residents and their visiting family members that packed the stands in the gym.
There were also many local, state and national political and civic leaders and representatives in attendance to observe the compelling discussion and spirited game. And at the end of the night, Cavs players and coaches came together at center with the Grafton facility’s residents to chant a resounding “Let’s Go Cavs!”
About the REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign:
Through stories of hope and redemption, REPRESENT JUSTICE will engage audiences and spark collective action that creates public demand for a fair legal system, dignity for system impacted communities, and an end to extreme sentences. The Campaign, launched in conjunction with the release of the feature film JUST MERCY(2019), will work with a coalition of partners, artists, athletes and more to advance reform and build capacity for other organizations in the space.
About Prison Fellowship:
Prison Fellowship® is the nation's largest outreach to prisoners, former prisoners, and their families, and a leading voice for criminal justice reform. With more than 40 years of experience helping restore men and women behind bars, Prison Fellowship advocates for federal and state criminal justice reforms that transform those responsible for crime, validate victims, and encourage communities to play a role in creating a safe, redemptive, and just society. Prison Fellowship® also seeks to share the real, living hope of the Gospel with people who long for its power to make them new. Real restoration begins by addressing the cycle of crime on all fronts, in prison and out, and engaging in a cycle of renewal.