The Place We Wish the World Could Be
Dear Usdan Community,
Often, I say our role is to make Usdan the place we wish the whole world to be. Today, I thank the NBA for furthering my inspiration to realize this vision. If you have not followed the season, allow me to share.
On July 30, the NBA season restarted in a special isolation zone or “bubble” in Orlando, with players arriving on July 7. The season will end either tonight, Sunday, or Tuesday depending on the results of each scheduled game. If you have not yet watched and want to, be sure to tonight.
Regarding safety, the strict and commonsense protocols in place in the bubble have resulted in not one player nor staff member testing positive for COVID. I am amazed that they pulled off the start of this massive effort just one week after the originally scheduled opening date for Usdan’s 2020 in-person camp.
Regarding racial equity, the entire experience and messaging has been centered on combating systemic racism. During the national anthem, players kneel with the word VOTE displayed across their t-shirts, which they then shed to reveal on their jerseys one of nearly 30 social justice messages like “Enough,” “Education Reform,” and “Respect Us.” Across the court, “BLACK LIVES MATTER” stretches prominently, and commercial after commercial features NBA players speaking out at the June protests or urging fans to vote.
As for creativity, watching the players solve problems with their bodies has been a deeply satisfying form of live performance when arts spaces remain shuttered. Have fun googling some highlight reels, or enjoy some moments of my favorite players: Portland’s Damian Lillard, Miami’s rookie Tyler Herro, and Denver’s Jamal Murray.*
I want to make Usdan the place I wish the whole world to be, so our children can see that if we can do it in this little world of 140 acres and 1,500 children, that they can do it in the big world too. I thank the NBA for giving us a visible reminder that a better world of equity, safety, and unabashed creativity can happen at this moment in history.
Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director
*Special thanks to my son for choosing the clip, and to my whole family for making watching sports the norm for me while growing up and still today.