NBA, WNBA, G League and Teams Celebrate Juneteenth


This week, the NBA family will celebrate Juneteenth, a celebration of the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States, with a variety of league and team programs, conversations and partnerships that encourage employees, fans and all. NBA family members to learn more. while on vacation while reflecting on past and present racial injustices in our county. The league will observe the holiday on Friday, June 18 with paid time off for all U.S. employees.

As part of the celebration, all league and team employees were invited to a virtual panel discussion on June 17, hosted by the NBA “Dream in Color” employee resource team. The panel will present the forces behind “A more beautiful thing“, a documentary produced by NBA legends Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade, Seattle Storm President Ginny Gilder and GRAMMY Common award-winning artist that tells the story of the first African-American public high school rowing team from the United States. Grant Hill, director Mary Mazzio and Arshay Cooper, a rower and protagonist of the film, will engage in a conversation moderated by Stephanie Ready of NBA TV around Arshay’s story, the film’s origins, the black history, Juneteenth and more.

Also hosted by “Dream in Color” was the very first Dream in Coffee Color, a live virtual event on June 16 for NBA employees to highlight black excellence in art and culture. The event included live performances by award-winning saxophonist Trey Daniels and “America’s Got Talent” winner Brandon Leake, followed by a moderated discussion of Juneteenth, the creative process and each guest’s most fulfilling moment in their careers.

Additionally, this week NBA players were invited to preview the new History Channel documentary produced by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Fighting Power: The Movements That Changed America, which will be presented on Juneteenth. The hour-long documentary chronicles key movements that have had a major impact throughout history, including the labor movement of the 1880s, women’s suffrage and civil rights, as well as the LGBTQ + and Black Lives Matter movements.

In the WNBA, players will wear warm-up jerseys honoring the league’s commitment to social justice and teams will play Lift Every Voice and Sing, also known as the “Black National Anthem,” in arenas for celebrate the liberation and perseverance of black people. The NBA G League also launched a clothing collection designed by Brooklyn artist Julian Alexander, part of the proceeds will be donated Facing history and Ourselves, an organization that uses history lessons to challenge teachers and their students to stand up to bigotry and hate.

Throughout the weekend, the NBA Family will recognize Juneteenth on all social and digital platforms and highlight how NBA teams celebrate Juneteenth celebrations in their respective communities, through events with the National Museum of African American History and Culture around the commemoration of Juneteenth, city halls and round tables, black buying initiatives, festivals and more. Some of the specific team activations include:

  • June 14, in honor of June 17, Pacers staff participated in a tour of historic Indiana Avenue, located in downtown Indianapolis. From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, the neighborhood was home to a thriving African-American community, highlighted by entrepreneurship, entertainment, and many cultural attractions. June 14, LA mowers organized a conversation for all staff in collaboration with the National Museum of African American History and Culture around the commemoration of Juneteenth. Focusing on the actions of slaves, he explored the complex strategies, battles, and legal challenges that ended slavery in the United States.
  • June 16, Magic of Orlando hosted a Walk with us Town Hall, discussed the history and importance of Juneteenth, and explored the African-American presence in Orlando from 1865 to the present day, as well as black-owned businesses.
  • June 18, New York Knicks Legend John Wallace will be supporting the 12th Annual Juneteenth NYC Festival at Herbert Von King Park in Brooklyn, where the Jr. Knicks will lead a basketball skills academy to educate, empower and engage the community.
  • June 19, Memphis Grizzly will attend the 2nd annual Juneteenth Shop Black Festival which celebrates black businesses in the Memphis community and recognizes Juneteenth. Black-owned businesses and food shops will be highlighted with several musical artists performing during the festival.
  • June 19, Thunder of Oklahoma City The artists of Rolling Thunder Book Bus and Thunder will be in Juneteenth sur l’Est, a family celebration of freedom and the creation of places while highlighting the history of emancipation. The Book Bus will be on hand to provide books, shoulder bags, water bottles and t-shirts to all visitors.
  • June 19, Magic of Orlando will host the Unity Juneteenth celebration which will include a panel discussion on Black Excellence: A Mindset with inspiring leaders from our community sharing their stories of success, persistence and generational impact.
  • June 19, The Cleveland Cavaliers will sponsor the Juneteenth African American Cultural Gardens Celebration, which includes an essay competition on social justice for young people. Additionally, as part of a three-way alliance with Cleveland’s professional sports teams, the Cavs are sponsoring the inaugural Downtown Alliance Freedom Fest celebration.
  • June 20, Golden State Warriors are supporting community COVID-19 vaccination sites around the Bay Area with freebies to help encourage vaccinations. This event is part of the Juneteenth activations in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco. In addition to other community activations, the event will also offer attendees the opportunity to get vaccinated.

Building on the league’s values ​​of equality, respect and inclusion for decades, the NBA continues its commitment to advance social justice and promote equality for marginalized communities across the board. NBA Foundation and National Basketball Coalition for Social Justice. Ahead of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on TNT, the NBA will also announce the first winner of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Champion Award, a new annual honor that will recognize a current NBA player for advancing Abdul-Jabbar’s mission of leading change and taking collective action in his community.


About Kimberly Alley

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