NBA team owners commit US$300m to black empowerment

Members of the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz kneel together around the Black Lives Matter logo on the court during the national anthem before the start of an NBA basketball game July 30, 2020. — Reuters pic
Members of the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz kneel together around the Black Lives Matter logo on the court during the national anthem before the start of an NBA basketball game July 30, 2020. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Aug 6 — NBA team owners will contribute US$300 million (RM1.2 billion) over the next decade to establish a charitable foundation dedicated to economic empowerment in the black community, the league announced Wednesday.

The NBA Foundation, launched in partnership with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), will see all 30 club owners contribute a collective US$30 million annually for 10 years in initial funding to support racial equality and social justice.

“The creation of this foundation is an important step in developing more opportunities for the black community,” NBPA president Chris Paul said. ”I’m proud of our league and our players for their commitment to this long-term fight for equality and justice, and I know we will continue to find ways to keep pushing for meaningful institutional change.”

The move follows worldwide protests after the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd last May while in police custody.

NBA players are wearing messages of support for cultural issues on jerseys as they finish their season while “Black Lives Matter” is written upon all courts where games are played.

The foundation mission will be to drive economic empowerment for black communities through employment and career advancement, boosting access and backing for high school, college-aged and career-ready black men and women.

It will also assist national and local organisations that provide skills training, mentorship, coaching and personal development in NBA communities across the United States and Canada.

Part of the foundation’s mission regarding emplpoyment will be on obtaining a first job, securing employment after high school or college and career advancement once employed.

“All NBA team governors recognize our unique position to effect change and we are committed to supporting and empowering young black men and women in each of our team markets as well as communities across the US and Canada,” said NBA board of governors chairman Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of the ownership group for the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors.

Four NBA club owners, three players and executives from the NBPA and a member of the league office will serve on the foundation board of directors.

“We’re dedicated to using the collective resources of the 30 teams, the players and the league to drive meaningful economic opportunities for black Americans,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.

“We believe that through focused programs in our team markets and nationally, together with clear and specific performance measures, we can advance our shared goals of creating substantial economic mobility within the Black community.” — AFP

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