The NBA’s influence on Black History Month

by Evan Lagemann, Staff Writer

As the month of February is all about Black History and celebrating the past, the NBA has done a great job with sponsoring Black History. As over 73% of the league include African-American players, the way the league celebrates this month is like no other; and it is more captivating to watch than in other months. During the mid-2000s, the NBA really started to honor the past and present greats that are part of the African-American community.

This really began through an effort made by the Miami Heat through their program in the TIPOFF magazine. In their campaign, they included speeches and sketches during pre-game, halftime, and postgame to help celebrate the month. Traditions like this had teams and players warming up and celebrating Black History Month before every game with T-Shirts and much more. They also have helped out in the local community, through school programs to help developing areas. This has not only started a tradition by teams, but players who wanted to spread their culture.

While honoring his past, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was interviewed about his ways of honoring the month: “Unity and Love. That’s the best message you can give throughout Black History Month. Also remembering the ones who laid the groundwork and path to be here, and to be able to celebrate them on a day-to-day basis.” As an active activist in the NBA Cares foundation, James has created and helped out many in predominantly African-American communities. His biggest project was the building of a school and The LeBron James Family Foundation in Akron, Ohio.

Others like Philadelphia 76ers Center Joel Embiid have used inspiration to help places abroad. He has donated over $1 million dollars to his hometown village in Cameroon dedicated for schools, hospitals, and better shelter. It’s safe to say the NBA community has really had a presence in Black History Month. Along with present players, the NBA has created videos and series named “Barrier Breakers” about the great African American players of all-time. They have created a legacy which has created great tradition and culture within the league.