NBA Foundation is 'Action' Garrett Temple Has Sought

Last week, the NBA announced the creation of the NBA Foundation, with $300 million in initial funding contributed by NBA team owners over the next 10 years, with a “mission to drive economic empowerment for Black communities through employment and career advancement.”

The foundation has been formed in partnership with the National Basketball Players Association, of which Nets teammates Garrett Temple and Kyrie Irving are part of the union leadership on the Executive Committee, serving as Vice-Presidents.

“In terms of the foundation and what we’re doing with the money, it’s very important that we not only talk about change and protest and be on the right side of the protests in my opinion, but that we actually have action,” said Temple. “This foundation, the creation of this foundation, the funds that we’re going to be allocating, that’s action. That’s a start. We knew that we were going to be able to have some funds and maybe have a little bit of say of where we think these things should go, as a union. So I’m very excited that things are moving in the right direction. At the end of the day, the protests are great, much needed. The people saying that they understand, that they need to change, that’s all good, but without action, all of it is null and void, so it’s good to see that this is some action.”

Since the killing of George Floyd in May, NBA players have been active in the protest movement supporting Black Lives Matter that swept the country, with Nets players such as Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert among those participating.

Temple was a vocal advocate of the ability of the players and the league to continue to spotlight the issues with the resumption of play on the NBA Campus in Orlando providing a new venue and outlet for players to spread their message. Since the games began on July 30, the Nets have been taking a knee during the national anthem, locking arms while wearing Black Lives Matter shirts, with some, such as Temple, raising their fists. As they do so, they are parallel with the “BLACK LIVES MATTER” messaging that has been painted across the center of the court in front of the scorer’s table.

Once the players take the court, they’ve continued to emphasize social justice issues with messaging across the tops of the back of their jerseys.

The foundation’s leadership includes three of the eight Board of Directors seats going to players or NBPA executives, and Temple is supportive of the players having a say in how the funds are allocated. He’s focused on policy changes, particularly education reform, the message he has chosen for the back of his jersey. There is utility in the celebrity of being an NBA player, large or small, and Temple is an advocate of maximizing that opportunity, starting on the local level.

“The policy changes, they're not as far away in terms of the people that can actually can create those policies aren't as far away — or as distant — as we make them out to be,” said Temple. “I think sitting down and having a few conversations with a few people that are in our reach as NBA basketball players, honestly, can make quite a few changes. And I think that's the thing that I'm definitely gonna be thinking about doing once all of this stuff, in terms of what I got going on, kinda settles down a little bit."