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In the lead-up to NBA All-Star 2022 the NBA, along with the Cleveland Cavaliers, committed to improving the lives of any Clevelander from every walk of life.
During the festivities, all parties involved were able to provide residents of Northeastern Ohio empowered the city's COVID-19 task force, which encouraged residents to get the COVID-19 vaccination and boosters as well as promote health education starting with a city-wide public education campaign that will feature NBA personalities as well as notable Cavaliers. There were also special incentives for when City of Cleveland residents receive a COVID-19 vaccination or boosters as well, including opportunities to receive tickets to NBA All-Star events or upcoming Cavaliers games, autographed memorabilia and so much more.
Not only that, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) worked alongside local community organizations to provide programming and support that focus on youth, education, health equity, food insecurity and economic inclusion. Additionally, building off the success of NBA All-Star 2021, the league again uplifted the HBCU community as part of the weekend and empower the next generation of leaders. More than $3 million will be contributed to the Greater Cleveland and HBCU communities through these combined efforts.
In total, the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission announced that NBA All-Star 2022 provided Northeast Ohio with $141.4 million in direct spending, aiding in achieving $248.9 million in total economic impact. The event brought in 121,641 attendees from 45 states and 24 countries as well. The event also generated more than $50 million in earned media value and received 11.9 billion in total media reach, which includes more than 3,400 news outlets referencing Cleveland alongside the associated NBA All-Star events between Jan. 1 to Feb. 28 worldwide. NBA All-Star was broadcast in 215 countries and territories and a record 60 languages as well.
But, the commitment to making life better for those didn't just stop from both the Cavaliers and the NBA with the conclusion of NBA All-Star 2022. Due to the ongoing risks associated with the pandemic along with Cleveland's winter weather, a few key events had to be delayed. That's why early last week the NBA announced that they would be returning to the shores of Lake Erie to make good on a promise they made during All-Star 2022. No matter your walk of life, the NBA, along with the Cavaliers, wanted to make life better for any and all Clevelanders.
On Friday, leaders from both the NBA and Northeast Ohio united to pay tribute to the monumental gathering in the city's history. A historical marker will be placed in front of what is now the home of the American Cancer Society at 10501 Euclid Avenue, which is the former site of the Negro Industrial Building, which hosted the original Cleveland Summit 55 years ago. For the rest of time, those 12 names of those courageous Black men are now etched in a black monument embedded in the ground along Euclid Avenue on the city’s East Side, a symbol of their strength and what they stood for.
Cleveland Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman spoke last Friday at the unveiling of the monument memorializing the 1967 Cleveland Summit. Photo credit: Cleveland Cavaliers
Also on Friday in partnership with national nonprofit Black Girl Ventures, the NBA Foundation hosted a pitch competition where seven college-aged Black and Brown entrepreneurs from HBCUs presented their business concepts for a chance to win capital. The entrepreneurs are part of BGV’s NextGen Program, a grantee of the NBA Foundation that seeks to create access to capital, capacity, and community for student entrepreneurs ranging from 18-24 years old. Members of the NBA family and local Cleveland business leaders served as judges for the competition, including Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, evaluating business models and providing tips to HBCU student-entrepreneurs.
Participants Daa’iyah Fogle and Malcolm Lee tied for first place in the competition, each earning $5,000 in capital for their business. Fogle is the founder and CEO of Day’s Design and a graduate of Claflin University. Lee is the founder and CEO of Gabb Global and a graduate of Virginia Union University. Attendees of the event and their networks can continue to vote on the top pitches for the next seven days to select a second-and third-place winner to win $6,000 and $2,000, respectively.
Earlier in the week, meanwhile, the NBA and the Cavaliers announced the opening of the Mindfulness Learning Space at the Earle B. Turner Neighborhood Resource Center. The Mindfulness Learning Space is a part of the NBA’s 75th Live, Learn or Play initiative to celebrate the league’s 75th season. The renovated space provides a safe and quiet area for community members to enjoy and furthers the mission to support the development and well-being of youth in Northeast Ohio.
On Thursday, the NBA partnered with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kaiser Permanente to renovate spaces at the King Kennedy Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Ohio. The renovation includes updates to the Club’s gym, kitchen and game room. The King Kennedy Club is a mainstay of Cleveland’s Central Neighborhood, providing a safe, fun place for children to learn after school with an emphasis on academic success, healthy lifestyles and character development. For two decades, the Club has made a significant impact on outcomes for under-resourced community members.
"The reason we do these projects are for the community," said Cavaliers CEO Nic Barlage. "Specifically in this situation, the kids it impacts every single day."
"We view ourselves as a community asset," Barlage continued. "We do not view ourselves as a business. We view ourselves as a platform to create change and bring people together. We have an opportunity to do that some 200-odd nights at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse but it doesn't stop there and it shouldn't stop there."
During the week there was also an adaptive sports basketball clinic focused on the fundamentals of the game for 50 youth from Empower Sports, Adaptive Sports Ohio as well as Achievement Centers for Children at the Broadway Boys and Girls Club. There was also a celebration of the conclusion of Cavs Academy Camp, where the Jr. NBA also provides the opportunity for additional youth from the City of Cleveland Recreation Centers to attend the camp. Finally, members of the NBA family visited the Studio West 117 community center in Cleveland and dedicated a new basketball facility and community space prior to engaging with local LGBTQ youth and community members in candid conversations about inclusion and allyship.
Clearly, the impact left by NBA All-Star is continued to be felt months later and will for the foreseeable future as well. The Cavaliers, the NBA as well as their many partners all paved a way to improve the lives of countless individuals throughout Northeastern Ohio. At the end of the day, that's what truly matters and has helped make Cleveland a better place for everyone who calls it home.
Cover photo credit: Cleveland Cavaliers
Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Email him at email@example.com. Did you enjoy this edition of Right Down Euclid? You can get it in your inbox two to three times a week by subscribing here. All it takes is either your Facebook account or email address!
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