NEW YORK — The National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) today announced the formation of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition, an organization that will lead the NBA family’s collective efforts to advance equality and social justice. Through its mission to leverage the game’s influence to raise awareness, educate and advocate for meaningful reform, the Coalition will focus on action and change in several areas, including voting access and criminal justice system reform at the national, state and local level.
The National Basketball Social Justice Coalition will be led by a group of five team governors, five players and two coaches. Additionally, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum and NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts will serve on the Coalition’s board. The inaugural board members are:
NBA Board of Governors:
- Micky Arison, Miami Heat Managing General Partner
- Steve Ballmer, L.A. Clippers Chairman
- Clay Bennett, Oklahoma City Thunder Chairman
- Marc Lasry, Milwaukee Bucks Governor
- Vivek Ranadivé, Sacramento Kings Governor and Chairman
National Basketball Players Association:
- Carmelo Anthony, Portland Trail Blazers Forward
- Avery Bradley, Los Angeles Lakers Guard
- Sterling Brown, Milwaukee Bucks Guard-Forward
- Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz Guard
- Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves Forward
National Basketball Coaches Association:
- Lloyd Pierce, Atlanta Hawks Head Coach
- Doc Rivers, Philadelphia 76ers Head Coach
The formation of the Coalition is another step in the NBA and NBPA’s ongoing efforts to advance social justice, building upon a shared goal of the 2019-20 season restart in Orlando and continuing decades of work by players and teams to address racial inequality, advocate for meaningful change and promote greater civic engagement.
Throughout their time on the Orlando campus, players, coaches and staff participated in social justice programming organized by the league and union and accessed educational resources and expert speakers, including former first lady Michelle Obama, motivational speaker Eric Thomas and NBA legend and former United States Senator Bill Bradley, to help sustain momentum in addressing systemic inequities and creating meaningful change. Additionally, the jerseys from the opening weekend of the NBA restart, including those displaying social justice messages, were auctioned at Auctions.NBA.com to support a newly-created Player’s Justice Fund administered by the NBPA Foundation.
In early August, the NBA Board of Governors announced a $300 million initial contribution to establish the first-ever NBA Foundation dedicated to creating greater economic empowerment in the Black community and in October named the inaugural Board of Directors, which included Sacramento Kings Forward Harrison Barnes, New Orleans Pelicans Governor Gayle Benson, Philadelphia 76ers Forward Tobias Harris, Charlotte Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan, Atlanta Hawks Principal Governor Tony Ressler, NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Board of Governors Chairman and Toronto Raptors Governor Larry Tanenbaum.
The NBA and NBPA also took leaguewide action to promote greater civic engagement and expand voting access and voter awareness ahead of the 2020 election. In total, 23 teams committed their arenas or practice facilities for voting-related activities, and all 30 teams were actively involved in promoting greater civic engagement. The league and union worked with players, network partners and non-partisan organizations, including I Am A Voter and When We All Vote, to feature advertising spots during the postseason, participated in National Voter Registration Day, National Vote Early Day and National Black Voter Day, and shared voting, registration and census resources with teams and players. The NBA family also partnered with More Than A Vote, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Power The Polls to support the “We Got Next” poll worker recruitment campaign, which signed up 20,000 new poll workers, including 10,000 who registered after the league and union hosted 40 first-time volunteers, President Barack Obama and NBA legends in a virtual fan section during Game 1 of the 2020 NBA Finals.