NBA Together Discusses Threat of COVID-19 On Incarcerated Community 

The NBA continues the “NBA Together Virtual Roundtable Series” with its second discussion that features Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson, two-time WNBA Champion DeWanna Bonner, Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce and NBA Champion, Vera Institute of Justice board member and lifelong social justice and criminal justice reform advocate Caron Butler

As part of #NBATogether, the roundtable discussions examine and discuss the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on historically marginalized communities of color.  

Hosted by Butler, the series features special guests, including leading voices from the NBA and WNBA family, public health experts and social justice leaders, and streams on the official NBA Twitter account at 7 p.m. ET every Tuesday.

This week’s discussion will focus on the urgent threat of COVID-19 to incarcerated communities as well as the pre-existing inequities surrounding criminal justice in America.  

The conversation will cover topics such as the factors driving the spread of COVID-19 inside correctional facilities, the root causes of our system of mass incarceration, and its disproportionate impact on people of color, stories of redemption in the face of systemic injustice and more.

All four participants have unique perspectives and experiences with the criminal justice system:

Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative and has advocated for and provided representation to thousands who have been wrongfully convicted or lack access to fair representation as depicted in the 2019 film Just Mercy, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jaime Foxx. 

Stevenson will discuss why COVID is spreading in the correctional system

Former NBA star Caron Butler was incarcerated at the age of 15 before going on to play in the NBA for 14 years and becoming a trustee of Vera Institute of Justice. He will speak on the challenges of growing up without a mentor.

Caron & Stevenson, both deeply believe that  “We are all more than worst thing we’ve ever done.”

Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce is a partner of the Georgia Innocence Project working to correct and prevent wrongful convictions. 

Bonner visited a women’s-only facility in Phoenix last year to learn more about women as the fastest-growing incarcerated population.

The virtual roundtable series tipped off last week with a discussion that featured WNBA legend and New Orleans Pelicans VP of Basketball Operations and Team Development Swin Cash, Milwaukee Bucks forward Kyle Korver and National Urban League President & CEO Marc Morial.  


As announced in April, the NBA family is partnering with Magic Johnson and leading organizations like the National Urban League to bring awareness to these disparities and promote health, economic and social equity. 

Using the league’s digital footprint, the league will amplify the work of leading organizations supporting Black, Hispanic, and other communities impacted by coronavirus through a series of public service messages, virtual content and community programs and partnerships.

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