The city of Cleveland was home to an exciting event this past week regarding the NBA and its advanced social justice efforts.
The National Basketball Social Justice Coalition in partnership with the Cavaliers and the City of Cleveland dedicated a historical marker at the site of the famous 1967 Cleveland Summit. The marker pays tribute on the 55th anniversary of the press conference and honors its lasting imprint on the history of athlete activism.
The original Cleveland Summit gathered a prominent group of professional black athletes, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Carl Stokes and more for a press conference to make a statement about social justice and the right to stand up for one’s beliefs. The event was held at the former Negro Industrial Building, which is now the Cleveland branch of the American Cancer Society.
The National Basketball Social Justice Coalition said in a statement: “We pay tribute to the Black athlete, activists and public servants present in 1967 by dedicating a historical marker to the original site of the summit.”
The marker was created by designers from the Marcus Graham Project. It was unveiled during a ceremony on June 17 at the site of the former Negro Industrial Building. During the unveiling, Cavaliers Sr. Vice President of Social Impact and Equity Kevin Clayton led a press conference. Other notable speakers included Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, Cavs Sr. Vice President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman, City Council President Blaine Griffin, National Basketball Social Justice Coalition Executive Director James Cadogan, and NBA Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo.
“We as players have the power to change the world, we have the power to change our community,” NBA Cares Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo said.
The marker serves to honor those black athletes who gathered at the Summit in 1967 and recognize their efforts in activism. The NBA amplifies the impact of this historical event and looks to advance efforts in athlete activism. The league works to actively engage in the intersection of professional sports and social justice efforts.