The NBA is putting the focus on advancing its social impact efforts. According to 11Alive, the league is using its 2021 All-Star festivities as an avenue to pay it forward by supporting historically Black colleges and COVID-19 relief efforts.
The basketball league has committed to donating $3 million to HBCUs and pandemic relief initiatives during an array of events happening in Atlanta on Sunday. The United Negro College Fund and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund—two organizations dedicated to eliminating socio-economic barriers that stand in the way of pursuing a college education—will each be awarded $500,000. The teams competing will each represent one of the organizations during the game and the winning team of each of the first three quarters will get $150,000 for their nonprofit. Assists during the game will assist with the creation of scholarship funds with the help of State Farm. Whoever scores the final shot of the game will collect $300,000 to go toward scholarships for one of the organizations. Kia MVP will donate a 2021 Sorento SUV to the winning team’s beneficiary foundation.
Beyond those efforts, $1.25 million will be donated to HBCUs during the skills challenge. Proceeds from the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest will be donated to the TMCF COVID-19 HBCU Emergency Fund; an initiative created to provide emergency aid, mental health resources and basic necessities for students in need. It was also developed in an effort to bridge the digital divide as schools have pivoted to virtual learning amid the pandemic. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge will support UNCF’s Emergency Student Aid to provide students with financial relief. The MTN DEW 3-Point Contest will raise money for Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity which was established to eliminate the inequities surrounding COVID-19 care in underserved communities.
The NBA is also teaming up with Kaiser Permanente and Goodr to create pop-up grocery stores in the Atlanta area to combat food insecurity. The stores will provide free groceries for frontline workers, senior citizens, youth, educators and other individuals in need.
“NBA All-Star in Atlanta will continue our annual tradition of celebrating the game and the greatest players in the world before a global audience,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “In addition to the festivities on the court, the All-Star Game will honor the vital role HBCUs play in our communities and focus attention and resources on COVID-19 relief, particularly for the most vulnerable.”
News about the social impact element of the All-Star Game events comes months after the league pledged to donate $300 million over the span of a decade to initiatives centered on Black empowerment.