Under the Microscope: The NBA’s Community Initiatives

The NBA’s Community Initiatives

At the time of writing eight teams are left fighting it out for the Larry O’Brien Trophy with the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers looking the most likely to go the distance according to the Championship odds.

With interest in basketball and NBA at its annual peak we thought it would be a great time to shine the spotlight away from the court and on to some of the amazing initiatives that the NBA has put in place to benefit a wide range of communities both here in North America and further afield.

Read on to find out how the NBA is using the power of basketball to benefit underprivileged people.

The NBA Voices Initiative

Unless you have had your head buried in the sand for the last couple of decades, you’ll be more than aware of the issues that the United States still has with race. Solving centuries of racial injustice and disparity isn’t really a realistic expectation of a sports league, but the NBA are doing their bit to build bridges between different communities.

The NBA Voices initiative has been designed to not just bring different communities together but to give younger members of underprivileged communities the tool and agency that they need to actually make a positive difference.

The values of equality, diversity, respect and teamwork are the foundation of the program that hopes to combat social injustice.

Acts of Caring

When we think about the recent Covid-19 pandemic we quite rightly feel sorrow for those that we lost and sympathy for those left to deal with the loss of a loved one. Something we often overlook though is the economic and psychological hardships that many suffered during the pandemic.

In the midst of the pandemic, the NBA and WNBA came up with the Acts of Caring initiative which helped to raise tens of millions of dollars for those who were impacted by the pandemic. That included staff members that lost out of wages during the league’s hiatus, hospital workers and those experiencing poor mental health who were in need of support.

NBA Mind Health

On the topic of mental health, the NBA have gone to great lengths to help end the stigma associated with mental health, particular amongst young men. The NBA Mind Health website is a terrific resource that is free and provides a range of tips and resources to help people prioritise their mental health.

The 51-page Wellness Playbook on the website contains numerous wellness tips and exercises, self-assessments, handy explainers and guides. In addition to that there is a Skills and Drills section that covers techniques such as CBT.

Even if you haven’t the faintest interest in basketball, the NBA Mind Health is well worth a read.

(The NBA has used its platform effectively in recent years to encourage more people to open up about their mental health.)

Hoops for Troops

The treatment of combat veterans not just here in the United States but all around the world is notoriously poor. The aftercare for veterans suffering physical and psychological trauma often aren’t up to the standard they should be and in many cases, veterans struggle to find regular employment after time spent with the forces.

The NBA’s Hoops for Troops initiative not only looks to provide care and assistance for veterans who need it, but it also works to honour them and provide them with the resources and tools that they need to thrive post service.

The initiative, as well as the league in general, actively looks to provide employment for veterans as well.

NBA Green

The soccer World Cup that was held in Qatar toward the end of 2022 was the focus of a lot of scrutiny and criticism due to the claims of slave labour being used by the host nation in the construction of the stadiums.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the tournament emitted 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 over the course of a month, which is roughly equivalent to the annual emissions of the Democratic Republic of Congo. World soccer’s response to this was to dispute the official figures and bury their head in the sands.

Basketball on the other hand is acutely aware of the role that it plays in creating carbon emissions and is actively doing something about it through the NBA Green scheme. From planting trees to cleaning up beaches and running education days, the NBA is really embracing its climate responsibilities.

(The NBA is working hard to protect the environment in a way in which no other major sports body is.

In Summary

There are a great many more initiatives that the NBA is involved in that we simply didn’t have the space to cover in this article. Whilst some may scoff at a sports league’s initiatives as a mere PR exercise the evidence is clear, the NBA’s community projects are affecting real change.


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