When the NBA returns to the court later this month, a majority of players will take the floor with various league-approved social justice messages on their jerseys in place of their name. It’s a nice gesture, but one that everyone has noted is nothing without action behind it.
The league is working with the players union on a variety of potential platforms, from a greater focus on diversity within organizations and the league at an executive level to a foundation to deliver educational and economic opportunity to Black communities. While we wait to see the concrete form of the league’s plans to support systemic and long-term change inside the sport and in the communities the league exists in, players are taking the onus to make an impact.
Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday announced on Wednesday that he would be donating his remaining salary, which is worth up to $5.3 million, to various social justice causes through a fund (the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Justice Impact Fund) he’s starting with his wife, Lauren, as he told ESPN‘s Andrew Lopez.
“Honestly when it came down to it, it was me and my wife talking about what we could do to kind of further this movement and progression and being able to help out our community and just being able to help,” Jrue Holiday told ESPN.
“We were just kind of sitting in the house, in the bed, thinking about it, and my wife said, ‘I think you should do this and you should do the rest of your salary.’ That’s a great idea. Because we want to make an impact. God has blessed us with so much. We know a couple of things that are important are time and money, and right now, we have both. To be able to give away our money to help further this movement and Black-owned businesses that have taken a hit in COVID-19, to us, it felt like the perfect time and opportunity.”
"I've been so blessed to make this money and play basketball … but there's people out there that need support."
— ESPN (@espn) July 15, 2020
Holiday will look to donate the majority of that money to various non-profit organizations and Black-owned business in New Orleans (up to $1.5 million), Indianapolis ($1 million), and Los Angeles/Compton ($1.5 million), as well as $1 million to Black-owned businesses in 10 other cities across the country and $500,000 to HBCUs and other educational institutions, per ESPN.
Those three cities were selected because Holiday is from L.A. and went to UCLA — where he met Lauren — who is from Indianapolis (which is also where Holiday’s two brothers play for the Pacers), and he currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans. It’s quite the commitment from the Holidays and is an incredible use of the platform they have with the restart for doing some good for a lot of people in communities that mean a lot to them.