Joe and Clara Wu Tsai — owners of the Brooklyn Nets, NY Liberty and the Barclays Center — are committing an additional $50 million to social justice causes on top of the Nets’ requisite $10 million donation to the NBA Foundation, they announced Aug. 25.
As a whole, the NBA board of governors is committing $300 million to the foundation over the next decade.
“The Plaza at Barclays Center in Brooklyn has become a gathering space for Black Lives Matter. We are proud of our players’ leadership in speaking out against racism and advocating for social justice,” they wrote in an announcement. “Racial injustice continues to be pervasive in society, and systemic imbalances must be addressed by the government, the private sector, and individuals.”
Joe Tsai, co-founder of Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group, is worth $13.4 billion, according to Forbes. He bought 49% of the Nets in 2018, then secured the remaining 51% in 2019.
The Tsais presented a five-point plan to use their organizations’ influence to further social justice causes.
“As leaders of our organizations, we have a responsibility to build a culture of equity and inclusion, and to influence other leaders in business and cultural institutions — including the League and other teams’ leadership — to stand against racism,” the announcement says.
The first point of the plan is the $50 million donation over 10 years for “social justice initiatives and community investments that will benefit the BIPOC (especially Black) community, with a priority on Brooklyn.” The money will be used to fund programs that are scalable and which “address systemic imbalances and root causes that produce racial gaps in education, health and wealth,” with an emphasis on mentorship of young people of color.
The second point is “player voice.”
According to the announcement, the Tsais will provide team and venue assets, such as social media accounts and billboards, for athletes to speak out on the issues of racism they face.
“We will also bring in experts from the academic, legal, media, and business communities to support the players’ continuing education and personal and professional growth,” the announcement says.
The third point is creating an inclusive culture at BSE Global — Joe Tsai’s holding company — including recruiting, developing, retaining and promoting Black employees and employees of color, especially in leadership positions.
The fourth point is using league-wide influence in the NBA and WNBA to “create opportunities for dialogue in order to coalesce around shared values.” The Tsais said that they will initiate regular conversations among team owners and leadership to discuss progress on implementing “diversity and anti-racism programs.”
Finally, the Tsais say they will prioritize community engagement by leveraging the Barclays Center space.
“In partnership with law enforcement, we will encourage the Plaza at Barclays Center (corner of Flatbush and Atlantic) to continue to serve as a place for peaceful gatherings and for all constituents to listen to each other,” the announcement says.
The Tsais and BSE Global are the latest in a string of NBA owners making donations in addition to those required for the newly-created NBA Foundation.
On Aug. 17, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment — which owns the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, among other entities — committed an extra $10 million directly to initiatives in communities its teams touch across the U.S. On Aug. 20, the Golden State Warriors announced an initial grant of $200,000, including $100,000 directly from head coach Steve Kerr, to two Bay Area organizations promoting educational equity — and noted that they have already contributed $22.5 million to the cause.