The historic NBA 2020 Season is now in the books, and the Los Angeles Lakers have been crowned NBA Champions. After weathering a challenging season on- and off-the-court in the Orlando Bubble, perhaps the most memorable part of this season was how NBA players fully embraced their leadership role on issues of social and racial justice.
NBA players continue to be leaders both on and off the court, from standing in solidarity at protests to expanding opportunities to vote.
Take the Commit to C.A.R.E. Pledge here
Now the NBA Players Association, along with Chris Paul, Jaylen Brown, Donovan Mitchell, Aaron Gordon and Danny Green, are working with Dove Men+Care to extend their social justice commitment through the Commit to C.A.R.E. (Care About Racial Equity) Now initiative.
As they address in the above short video, depictions of Black men in media and culture too often lean into harmful stereotypes instead of celebrating them as the caring men we know them to be.
The Commit to C.A.R.E Now initiative aims to change that, and it stands on three intertwined pillars:
- Changing perceptions
- Caring for each other and our communities
- Saving lives
Its purpose is to work together to create a world where Black men and boys are cared for, respected, supported and protected by changing representation in media and culture, supporting public safety and voting rights by advocating for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (HR 7120), and equipping the next generation by investing $250,000 in player-led initiatives to impact Black youth.
As Jazz super-star Donavan Mitchell explains:
The acronym we use is C.A.R.E.: Care About Racial Equity. Being able to be equal. Being able to have the same schooling. Being able to feel safe. Being able to understand that you may not want to vote but understand why your vote counts. And it’s not just voting for the President. You’re voting for your local leaders. For me, the big thing is police brutality. Vote locally so you can ban chokeholds. Understand that it’s not just a national election that you’re voting for. And I think that’s where we need to educate ourselves: you have to vote for everything in your community.
Every voice, every vote, every person counts in this long journey to equality. It’s not gonna happen overnight, but if we can keep plugging away and finding ways to help each other and to educate each other, we can all reach the end goal.
For the Orland Magic’s Aaron Gordon, equity and fair representation means a next generation of kids being able to see a future where anything is possible for them:
[A]s a Black kid growing up you wanted to be a ballplayer or a rapper and that was really it. You didn’t see many doctors or lawyers or, in this case, computer scientists. I knew that my mom created a beautiful life for herself and her family through S.T.E.M., and if it worked for her it could work for anybody. She preached that to me, and now we’re putting it into practice.
As, Oklahoma City Thunder guard, ten-time NBA All-Star, and NBA Players Association President, Chris Paul put it:
I have two kids. I got a son and I have a daughter. So when you talk about like the key to longevity, and the key to anything, I don’t care what your job is, it’s about discipline. And I think trying to be the best player I can be hopefully translates to being the best parent that I can be.
So not just trying to show my kids that type of work ethic, but being in the NBA, you think about the vets in our league or whatnot, it also translates to the way we speak up. You know, we speak on social injustice, and we come together and do things together. So we’re really trying to equip the next generation with the tools that they understand that when things happen, they can speak up. You know, there’s no “just be an athlete, just shut up, and you play and you shoot, and we don’t care how you feel as a person, or as a man.” So I think that’s what’s been very important. Not only for me personally, but for us as a league.
The C.A.R.E. Now initiative includes the support of Chris Paul’s Club 61, Aaron Gordon’s CODE ORLANDO, Donovan Mitchell’s SPIDACARES, as well as other player-led philanthropic and social justice organizations.
Photo Credit: Dove Men+Care
This is a sponsored post by Dove Men+Care