Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has committed $1.5 million for WNBA players who have opted out of the 2020 season. Shams Charania of The Athletic was among the first to report the news, stating that the funds will support the players that opt-out due to professional or health-related reasons.
Nets’ Kyrie Irving has started a $1.5 million fund for WNBA players who choose to sit out the 2020 WNBA season due to personal, professional, health, and/or safety-related reasons.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 27, 2020
Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving Commits $1.5 Million to Support WNBA
Kyrie Irving’s Initiative To Distribute $1.5 Million Fund
The funds are distributed through the KAI Empowerment Initiative launched by Irving. He wanted to help with the financial burden, in a league where WNBA players top salary is around $200,000. He also wanted to support those who have made the sacrifice to sit out to fight for social justice.
WNBA players will have to apply for the fund by August 11th and will be notified by August 24th if they qualified for the fund.
Playing Basketball During Unprecedented Times
The restart of the NBA and the start of the WNBA season during the coronavirus pandemic and times of social injustice has always been a reminder to players and the world that what’s going on is much bigger than basketball.
What makes Irving’s gesture so significant is that he has been outspoken on social justice issues numerous times. He also has given his opinions on whether playing basketball is the right thing to do during these times.
Irving hopes that this initiative will fully support players that have brought a great light into these issues and are using their careers as a platform to help many communities.
Mystics guard Natasha Cloud has decided to opt out of the 2020 WNBA season to fight for social reform
"I have a responsibility to myself, to my community, and to my future children to fight for something that is much bigger than myself and the game of basketball." pic.twitter.com/mxjvbKQ8mG
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 22, 2020
Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud and Atlanta Dream guard Renee Montgomery have both opted out to fight for social reform. Liz Cambage, Tina Charles, and Kristi Toliver have opted out due to health reasons.
Still, the WNBA has made a firm message that they will use their platform to educate others about racism and inequality in the world. The 2020 WNBA season tipped off Saturday, as players wore jerseys with “Breonna Taylor” on the back, to honor the 26-year-old EMT that was killed by the hand of the police in Louisville.
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