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These NBA players recently met with the pope. Here’s why

Five NBA players met with Pope Francis at the Vatican to discuss reforms.

Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac (1) argues with an official after being called for a foul during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, in Orlando, Fla.
Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac (1) argues with an official after being called for a foul during an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks Monday, Dec. 30, 2019, in Orlando, Fla.
Phelan M. Ebenhack, Associated Press

Five NBA players recently traveled to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis to discuss social justice reforms.

The five NBA players include:

  • Kyle Korver
  • Jonathan Isaac
  • Marco Belinelli
  • Sterling Brown
  • Anthony Tolliver
  • The players traveled with National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts.

The meeting happened at the papal library in the Apostolic Palace.

The discussions “provided the opportunity for the players to discuss their individual and collective efforts addressing social and economic injustice and inequality occurring in their communities,” the NBPA said in a statement.

Key quote:

  • “We are extremely honored to have had this opportunity to come to the Vatican and share our experiences with Pope Francis,” Korver said. “His openness and eagerness to discuss these issues was inspiring and a reminder that our work has had a global impact and must continue moving forward.”

Context:

The meeting with Pope Francis is just the latest way NBA players have sought social justice reforms. Many players joined the summer protests in the response to the death of George Floyd. The NBA players also advocated for Black Lives Matter during the NBA’s bubble return during the fall.