The Atlanta Hawks will host the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA’s first-ever “Unity Game,” geared towards addressing community service and cultural inclusion.
With so much political controversy going on in today’s society, professional sports teams and individual athletes have joined the conversation. As a result, many are taking this recent vocalization as an opportunity to speak out about important issues that matter to them. Now, the Atlanta Hawks are taking their turn, but in a special and unique way.
The Hawks announced on Monday that they would host the first ever “Unity Game” on Monday, Oct. 10, against the Cleveland Cavaliers. “Celebrating multicultural groups, diverse populations and organizations committed to improving relations amongst different groups,” is the purpose of the game according to Hawks.com. The Atlanta Hawks have consistently been dedicated to their city and giving back to the community; after all, it is their “brand promise.”
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“Unity Game: What makes us different, brings us together.”
"The concept for Unity Day came from an all-employee internal forum on July 19th, which followed a series of unsettling and alarming events around the nation during the summer. The staff was challenged to think of ways the Hawks organization could unite the city and continue the positive and peaceful conversation taking place in Atlanta. Within the forum, the consistent themes of community service, inclusion and using basketball as a change agent/unifier led to the creation of the event.“Our organization has seen firsthand how a sports team, its staff and every member, can positively affect the morale of a city. We have a brand promise to entertain and unite the city of Atlanta and we think our Unity Game is another great step toward keeping that promise,” Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin said. “We are thankful that the Cavaliers share similar values of inclusion and diversity and understand the importance sports can play beyond the court.”Both Hawks and Cavaliers players will take part in specially-produced videos that will air throughout the game explaining what Unity means to them and how the next generation of Atlantans and Clevelanders can positively impact their respective cities.In a special halftime ceremony, National Center for Civil and Human Rights CEO Derreck Kayongo will address the crowd and speak on the topics of unity, inclusion and social harmony. The Hawks will also honor and announce financial donations from the Atlanta Hawks Foundation to the Center and other deserving organizations that are embodying and delivering messages of respect, tolerance and peace through their work."
Diversity and the Hawks:
The city of Atlanta and the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club are the perfect fit for a celebration of diversity. The Hawks roster is a melting pot of races, ethnicities and nationalities. For example, point guard Dennis Schroder is German, center Tiago Splitter is Brazilian, and forward Thabo Sefolosha is Swiss. In addition, there is also a mix of color on the court between African-American and white players, including Dwight Howard, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, and Kent Bazemore, to name a few.
Together with the help of the Cavaliers, the Hawks will look to unite the city of Atlanta and beyond through the game of basketball. The Unity Game will take place Monday, Oct. 10, at 7:30 p.m. ET.