The NBA and NBA Players Association are committing more than $2.5 million to HBCUs in addition to providing more support to fair COVID-19 care.
The NBA announced the donation at the same time it announced some of its All-Star events in Atlanta on March 7.
The league has been criticized for continuing to have a modified version of its All-Star weekend during a pandemic. What usually serves as a meaningless exhibition could now become a superspreader event for not only the league but the city of Atlanta.
Multiple players have been vocal about their displeasure that the NBA is playing an All-Star game in a year where no fans can even attend due to the virus. Just a few days ago, the NBA announced that multiple teams would have to postpone games because of COVID outbreaks, and players across the league are literally being taken out of games due to contact tracing protocols.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has already said “this is a made-for-TV event only, and people should not travel to Atlanta to party.” But the likelihood of people listening to that advice is slim to none.
We’ve all seen that society has trouble following instructions during this time.
HBCUs could benefit from assistance that the league could provide to help educate more promising young Black people and assist in giving more Black people opportunities to succeed.
COVID relief is an admirable cause during this time, considering that more than 490,000 people have died due to this pandemic.
But the NBA could have easily offered their hand in helping these causes without throwing a meaningless game that will cause more harm for the community than it’s worth. But we know the real end game here is making more money from their TV partners.
The NBA did do a good thing here in helping both of these causes, but you can’t help but think that somewhere in the league office they orchestrated this announcement to get better press after making a terrible decision to play a game that won’t even count.
They deserve credit for trying to help these communities, but don’t lose sight of how they dropped the ball with this All-Star game, especially if we start seeing more outbreaks in the league or in Atlanta itself.