Pope Francis has now dabbled into the NBA’s waters to have a candid discussion about the social issues that has players using their voices now more than ever.
The group of NBA players that met the Pope at The Vatican was Sterling Brown, Kyle Korver, Jonathan Isaac, Marco Belinelli, and Anthony Tolliver.
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The group seems random on the surface, but makes some sense if you dig in to the players’ backgrounds. Sterling Brown was the victim of police brutality when he was tased outside a Walgreens in 2018. Kyler Korver and Brown were members of the Milwaukee Bucks, who boycotted a playoff game in the NBA Bubble after the shooting of Jacob Blake. Jonathan Isaac is an ordained minister, and also one of the only players who stood for the National Anthem in the NBA bubble.
It seems like the Pope did his homework before deciding who he would invite to have this conversation.
“You’re champions,” Pope Francis told the group via ESPN. “But also giving the example of teamwork, you’ve become a model, giving that good example of teamwork but always remaining humble … and preserving your own humanity.”
It seems like this was a good move by all parties. Also a very cool experience for these players to be a part of. Pope Francis is scheduled to give the players a tour of St. Peters Square after the meeting.