2: 35 PM ET
Malika Andrews ESPN Personnel Writer
- Staff Author
- Signed Up With ESPN in 2018
- Appears regularly on ESPN Chicago 1000
For five-time NBA champion Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the parallels between the coronavirus pandemic and the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the early 1990 s are apparent.
” The very same issues we had then, we have now, where bad details, myth about ‘it couldn’t occur to us in the black community,’ not being informed enough about HIV and HELP,” Johnson told ESPN through phone Wednesday early morning. “The very same thing [is happening] with the coronavirus.”
Johnson, who stated a youth good friend remains in the hospital because of the coronavirus, is partnering with the NBA to try to raise awareness among black Americans.
While the NBA season has actually been on indefinite time out considering that March 11, the league has actually launched “NBA Together,” an outreach program that includes Instagram Live interviews with existing and previous players, civil service announcements motivating fans to follow public health guidelines, and academic videos teaching young fans basketball skills.
NBA Together has raised more than $76 million for coronavirus-related relief efforts.
” The same problems we had then, we have now where bad information, misconception about ‘it could not take place to us in the black neighborhood,’ not being educated enough about HIV and HELP. The same thing [is happening] with the coronavirus.”.
As more information emerged about the coronavirus, the NBA zeroed in on information from public health authorities showing that people of color– and especially African Americans– are disproportionately affected by the virus. On Wednesday, the league unveiled a program within the NBA Together initiative that intends to even more educate the general public– and particularly minorities– about the coronavirus. The new program consists of partnering with the NAACP, National Urban League and other not-for-profit organizations.
Data has revealed that black people are passing away from the coronavirus at a greater rate than the public. One research study released by The Associated Press found that 42%of the people who have actually passed away of coronavirus in the United States were black. African Americans comprise 21%of the overall population surveyed.
” We really have to get out in front of this,” Johnson said. “That is why I am so delighted the NBA is stating, ‘Hey, we have to do something about it because who is out there on the court? Bulk African American players. Who enjoys this sport? African Americans.’ We like our basketball. This is very important right now.”
Johnson is slated to film civil service statements and participate in numerous virtual conversations targeted at reaching black NBA fans. Johnson, along with other gamers and coaches, will hold an online town hall series with health specialists and discuss the methods which black and brown individuals are being struck harder, in a lot of cases, by the coronavirus than their white peers.
” We do have a way to break through,” said Kathy Behrens, the NBA’s president of social properly and player programs. “That is why having Magic so included will truly help us reach individuals with this message.”
The NBA is likewise working to assist raise awareness about the coronavirus in United States prisons. On April 28, Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill is arranged to take part in a 30- minute Instagram Deal with Xavier McElrath-Bey, who invested 13 years in jail. Additionally, the NBA is working with traditionally black institution of higher learnings to assist organize a virtual graduation in place of canceled events.
” The NBA has actually been at the leading edge when you think of variety and addition,” Johnson stated. “Look at the Donald Sterling situation. The NBA has prestige in our community. When something occurs in the black community, the NBA has actually always been there. [Commissioner] Adam [Silver] is the most vibrant leader we have in sports. He gets it. It’s a no-brainer. I knew he was going to do something.”