The National Basketball Association and its broadcast partners, including Turner, ESPN, ABC and the league’s own NBATV, have announced “civic engagement” advertisements set to air during the rest of the NBA playoffs to raise awareness of voter access and opportunity.
The announcement comes after a breakneck week for the NBA that saw the Milwaukee Bucks force a leaguewide strike on Wednesday following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis. The strike, which took the league and other teams by surprise, occurred during the first round of the playoffs. Within a day, the league and its players’ union committed to returning to the season.
“We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between NBA players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality,” read a joint statement from NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Michele Roberts, the National Basketball Players Association’s executive director.
Additionally, the league will work with its franchise owners to convert its arenas into voting locations, a step already taken by the Houston Rockets and the Bucks, and the establishment of a “social justice coalition” featuring “representatives from players, coaches and governors, that will be focused on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.”
“These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community,” read the statement.
The NBA playoffs resume on Saturday.