NBA outlines community initiatives, engagement in letter to teams

Following the recent events in sports pertaining to politics and societal issues, NBA headquarters sent out a letter to all teams outlining the new initiatives and various ways the NBA, teams and players will be engaged in communities around the country.

The letter, sent Tuesday and obtained by ESPN, had the subject line "Building Stronger, Safer Communities," and it shared six ongoing initiatives in the communities while encouraging leadership from each team to provide any further ideas on how the NBA can be a presence in communities and assist with issues in society today.

"Given the recent attention on the role of sports in society, we wanted to share the different ways in which teams and players are engaged in their communities," the letter stated.

Building on last year's efforts, the NBA informed teams that there are community conversations with youth, parents, community leaders and law enforcement to engage in dialogue and build trust. The league will have various experts, such as former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Marty Dempsey and former Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey, join discussions with players and teams about diversity and inclusion.

Starting in October, the NBA and teams will coordinate with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to host a series of talks with NBA teams to engage youth, law enforcement and local leaders. There also will be mentorship programs and new partnerships with The Vera Institute of Justice and Facing History -- an education nonprofit -- to provide the NBA with guidance on issues from criminal justice reform to civic engagement.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts recently co-signed another letter to players encouraging them to utilize their platforms for a positive social impact in light of today's social and political climate.

Silver and Roberts told the players, "None of us operates in a vacuum. Critical issues that affect our society also impact you directly. Fortunately, you are not only the world's greatest basketball players -- you have real power to make a difference in the world, and we want you know that the Players Association and the League are always available to help you figure out the most meaningful way to make that difference."

The NBA letter comes days after teams around the NFL protested racial inequality and police brutality and came together following comments made by President Donald Trump. Trump also tweeted Saturday that the White House would not invite the Golden State Warriors for a visit after Stephen Curry said he would vote no to a visit.