With the Coronavirus pandemic impacting the entire world, we are currently going through difficult times. Therefore, community actions are more valuable than ever and the NBA, following the suspension of the 2019-20 season from March 12th, decided to launch the #NBATogether campaign 10 days later.
The campaign attempts to collaborate with fans and communities from various backgrounds with the support of NBA and WNBA players and franchises.
The #NBATogether campaign sets its sights on important issues such as health, physical and mental well-being, solidarity and even entertainment, while everyone continues to follow the measures shared by the government and health authorities, thus, contributing our grain of sand to the fight against COVID-19.
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Aware of its power and that of its athletes in the community, the NBA launched a campaign that seeks to multiply various community acts of caring for others. Through NBA Cares, the league's social responsibility platform that was launched in 2005, the league called on players and fans to share on social media with the hashtag #NBATogether, the various ways in which they help others in their community, be it giving virtual classes, making food purchases for a neighbor who needs them or other donations.
Boston Celtics' players such as Romeo Langford, Grant Williams and Marcus Smart made food donations to workers who are facing the coronavirus on the front lines.
More @celtics players stepping up to feed #healthcareworkers through #projectFRONTLINE😄 Romeo Langford has accepted the challenge from Grant to send meals to New England Baptist Hospital👏🏼 He challenged Marcus Smart next! @yeahyeah22 @AthletesCauses @ChipotleTweets @smart_MS3 pic.twitter.com/fOnrONyPYe- Allie LaForce (@ALaForce) April 23, 2020
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Jr. NBA success at home
As part of the "Expand your Community" pillar, the league developed the "Jr. NBA at home" platform, which consists of a series of videos made by different players and coaches from the NBA and WNBA, as well as from the Jr. NBA program, so that the boys and girls who practice basketball can continue to be connected to the league and train at home doing different exercises for small spaces.
It also includes special messages from NBA and WNBA players to inspire boys and girls around the world to stay active in a healthy and wholesome way.
The Jr. NBA Home program is integrated into the HomeCourt platform, the NBA's basketball training app and technology partner.
As of April 23, Jr. NBA at home was already a success - It had more than 57 million views on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. "At this time of year, we generally have kids playing with teammates, and we have an extensive schedule of camps and clinics," said David Krichavsky, the NBA's Senior Vice President and Head of Youth Basketball development. "Right now, we have to serve the community in different ways, so we quickly decided to develop the Jr. NBA at Home."
In addition to Jr. NBA at home, the league also partnered with education and wellness services like Discovery Education, Scholastic Inc. and NBA Math Hoops to promote these helpful resources for children's homeschool education. Different NBA personalities and educators create short virtual lessons to try to make this process more enjoyable for young people.
Today's NBA Math Break presented by @ATT focuses on measurement‼️ Learn more about this core #math concept with @Raptors guard @npowell2404 🔥 #JrNBAatHome- Jr. NBA (@jrnba) April 28, 2020
For more great #STEM content, check out @NBAMathHoops! #NBATogether #ConnectedTogether pic.twitter.com/JtmVtT09Rz
Also part of "Expand your Community", the NBA, in partnership with Kaiser Permanente and Headspace, provides resources for mental well-being and resilience, and tools to promote fans' awareness of their mental well-being and those around them. This is something fundamental in a time with a lot of anxiety and stress generated by the uncertainty with which we live.
"Know the facts"
One of the most basic ways to fight the coronavirus pandemic is to ensure we all have clear information on how to protect ourselves and understanding the recommended measures, especially in an era of too-much-information during which false news could be spread.
That is why the NBA put the spread of official information as one of the main focuses. The league created a coronavirus information site for NBA fans, which is updated daily with content and links to provide fans worldwide with the latest information and developments in their respective regions, and how they can protect themselves from the virus in the best way.
The site highlights resources for reducing risk from coronavirus, with guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization, Dr. Vivek Murthy (former U.S. Surgeon General), local and federal health experts.
An open interview with Dr. Murthy was also carried out on the league's Twitter account, while on Instagram there were players who performed a live session together with health specialists, such as DeMar DeRozan with the psychologist Kensa Gunter, or Stephen Curry with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Additionally, numerous public service announcements were made in which NBA and WNBA stars and legends expressed all of these tips, using their platform to reach fans around the world.
Entertainment, even trivial, is still an important thing in these times when we are in our homes looking for different ways to pass the time so that going through the quarantine is easier. So the NBA, with no live games, sought various ways to deliver content to its fans.
An NBA2K video game tournament was held in which 16 league players participated, including several All-Stars such as Kevin Durant, Trae Young and champion Devin Booker, who prevailed in the final over his Phoenix Suns teammate, DeAndre Ayton. Booker won a prize of $ 100,000 to donate to a charity of choice - shared between #FirstRespondersFirst and Arizona Food Bank Network,
MORE: Devin Booker wins NBA 2K Players Tournament
Then, in association with the ESPN, a H-O-R-S-E contest was also organized with the participation of current players and legends of the NBA and WNBA. Mike Conley Jr. of the Utah Jazz was crowned champion, beating Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls on the final. Chauncey Billups, Paul Pierce, Trae Young, Chris Paul, Tamika Catchings and Allie Quigley were the other six participants.
Behind the backboard ftw!#TeamMike | @espn pic.twitter.com/U2Q4drwVWe- utahjazz (@utahjazz) April 17, 2020
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After winning the tournament, Conley donated $200,000 to a charity of his choice to aid coronavirus relief efforts.
"It was very nice, especially being part of the first edition. Being able to compete with these guys, who were great opponents. It was in a fun environment and gave us all something to do at this time when we are sitting at home," said the HORSE champion.
The league provided its fans with other options as well - each night, a classic game would be live-streamed across multiple social platforms under the hashtag #NBATogetherLive. The NBA League Pass service was provided for free for a month giving fans a chance to relive games from this season and previous years. A weekly interview on Mondays is conducted by journalist Ernie Johnson and everyday "live" Instagram sessions take place with various figures from the league, current and past, touching on topics related to the community.
ICYMI: @TurnerSportsEJ was joined by No. 1 overall pick @Zionwilliamson on #NBATogether with Ernie Johnson.https://t.co/C03FCETeVK- NBA (@NBA) April 28, 2020
In fact, on Wednesday, April 29, the first "virtual round table" was held with former players Caron Butler and Swim Cash, Milwaukee Bucks player Kyle Korver and Marc Morial, the president of the oldest civil rights organization in the United States, the National Urban League, to debate the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color and possible actions to combat that.
COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting communities of color. Tune in to the first #NBATogether Virtual Roundtable tonight at 7 PM ET on @NBA as Caron Butler (@realtuffjuice), @SwinCash, @KyleKorver & @NatUrbanLeague's @MarcMorial discuss the issues and actions we can all take. pic.twitter.com/FXxZjzyq4u- NBA (@NBA) April 28, 2020
In addition to the four pillars of the #NBATogether campaign, the NBA also pledged to contribute and help raise more than $50 million to help people impacted by the coronavirus, and the community and health organizations that provide vital services around the world. Here are a few examples:
The league and the NBPA (players association) teamed up to contribute $2 million. Kyrie Irving donated $ 323,000 to the Feeding America organization in addition to contributing to a campaign to distribute more than 250,000 plates of food to people in need in the New York area. Joel Embiid and the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers contributed $ 1,3 million to a fund to facilitate testing for Philadelphia medical workers. Luka Doncic and Dwight Powell of the Dallas Mavericks and team owner Mark Cuban contributed $500,000 for Dallas-area health workers.
Al Horford donated $500,000 to the Dominican Republic and the cities in the United States where he played basketball (Michigan, Gainesville, Atlanta, Boston, and Philadelphia). The Charlotte Hornets Foundation contributed $250,000 for various community emergency campaigns. CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers contributed $170,000 to the communities of Portland, Oregon and Canton, Ohio. RJ Barrett provided the equivalent of $250,000 in food and instruments to protect against COVID-19 in the cities of Mississauga, Canada, and New York. The WNBA, its sponsor State Farm and the WNBPA, donated $240,000 to Direct Relief. The Anthony Davis Foundation contributed about $250,000 together with the Lineage company.
In addition, franchises and players also created assistance funds for arena workers who earned an hourly wage.
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