A green game of basketball
From uniforms made out of recycled materials to eco-friendly community events, the NBA is going green during 'NBA Green Week.'
Fri, Apr 02, 2010 at 06:09 PM
GOOD SPORT: Denver Nuggets Johan Petro, Renaldo Balkman and mascot Rocky plant an oak tree at the Pepsi Center. (Photo: NBAE via Getty Images)
The NBA is going green, and not just the Celtics.
Through April 9, players will wear uniforms made from recycled materials and teams will hold auctions and eco-friendly community events as part of “NBA Green Week.” A green section of NBA.com will have green tips for fans, and interviews with players who describe the importance of environmental awareness.
“Green Week showcases the NBA's ability to inspire positive action and is another example of why the league has an outstanding reputation as one of the world’s most responsible sports organizations," said Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is partnering with the NBA during green week.
“A healthy environment benefits everyone, and the NBA's continued incorporation of that understanding into its operations proves it takes its commitment to environmental protection seriously,” he said.
As part of Green Week, players will wear 50 percent recycled polyester shooting shirts, supplied by the league’s official outfitter, adidas. During nationally televised games, they will also wear green headbands, wristbands and socks — all made from 45 percent organic cotton.
To get fans into the spirit of things, NBA.com is auctioning off autographed Spalding basketballs, made from 40 percent recycled materials. (The auction runs through April 9.)
Each team will hold “Go Green” awareness nights to encourage fans to participate in tree plantings, recycling drives and more. The in-arena nights will also feature auctions to shore up green habits among fans. The Miami Heat, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks are partnering with HP for hands-on service project throughout the week.
In recent years, the NBA has increasingly focused on environmental sustainability — on the court and among fans. In 2008, the NBA and NRDC launched an NBA Team Greening Advisor, a Web-based resource guide to help teams and arenas use eco-friendly practices. In January, the Rose Garden Arena — where the Portland Trail Blazers play — became the first pro sports arena to receive LEED Gold certification. (Fans of the Miami Heat and Atlanta Hawks also have reason to be proud. American Airlines Arena in Miami and Philips Arena in Atlanta received LEED green certifications last year.)
The league overall is “committed to implementing new and innovative measures to offset energy usage and waste production in our offices and arenas and at all of our events,” said Kathleen Behrens, the NBA’s executive vice president of social responsibility and player programs. “NBA Green Week 2010 not only highlights the success of our teams’ efforts, but serves as a reminder to fans that we can all work to reduce our environmental footprint.”
This week in New York, the NBA store is collecting gently used sneakers to benefit Hoops 4 Hope, which works in southern Africa to teach life skills through sports. Fans can “buy green” at the stores, which are selling adidas brand, 100 percent organic cotton T-shirts, hats and other gear, plus socks and basketballs made from partially recycled materials.