A delegation of five NBA players and several NBPA officials met with Pope Francis at the Vatican this morning to discuss their work on social justice issues.
An assistant to the Pope reached out to the players’ association last week saying that the Pope wanted to learn more about how players had brought attention to social justice issues, and what they have planned for the future.
The delegation included: Kyle Korver, Sterling Brown, Jonathan Isaac, Marco Belinelli, Anthony Tolliver, and NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts.
- Brown, a victim of police brutality in 2018, was among the first Milwaukee Bucks players to decide to sit out when the team started a league-wide strike during the first round of the NBA playoffs.
- Isaac, an ordained minister, was one of the only players to stand for the national anthem during the NBA’s restart in Orlando.
- Korver previously discussed issues of white privilege and racism in his first-person essay for The Players’ Tribune titled “Privileged” in April 2019.
The meeting is said to have lasted an hour at the papal library of the Apostolic Palace. Belinelli addressed the pope in Italian, and the group presented him with gifts including a commemorative basketball, a union-produced book highlighting players’ efforts, and an Orlando Magic jersey.