ATLANTA, GA — The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club today announced plans to host a unique game experience, celebrating multicultural groups, diverse populations and organizations committed to improving relations amongst different groups, in its first-ever Unity Game on Monday, Oct. 10th as the team takes on the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Members of the Hawks organization will participate in two major events prior to the Unity Game: an all-staff service day (six service projects within the city of Atlanta) and the 46th Atlanta Pride Festival, the largest event of its kind in the Southeast.
The concept for Unity Day came from an all-employee internal forum on July 19th, which followed a series of unsettling and alarming events around the nation during the summer. The staff was challenged to think of ways the Hawks organization could unite the city and continue the positive and peaceful conversation taking place in Atlanta. Within the forum, the consistent themes of community service, inclusion and using basketball as a change agent/unifier led to the creation of the event.
“Our organization has seen firsthand how a sports team, its staff and every member, can positively affect the morale of a city. We have a brand promise to entertain and unite the city of Atlanta and we think our Unity Game is another great step toward keeping that promise,” Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin said. “We are thankful that the Cavaliers share similar values of inclusion and diversity and understand the importance sports can play beyond the court.”
Both Hawks and Cavaliers players will take part in specially-produced videos that will air throughout the game explaining what Unity means to them and how the next generation of Atlantans and Clevelanders can positively impact their respective cities.
In a special halftime ceremony, National Center for Civil and Human Rights CEO Derreck Kayongo will address the crowd and speak on the topics of unity, inclusion and social harmony. The Hawks will also honor and announce financial donations from the Atlanta Hawks Foundation to the Center and other deserving organizations that are embodying and delivering messages of respect, tolerance and peace through their work.
On Friday, Oct. 7th, approximately 300 members of Hawks staff and partners from 92.9 The Game and FOX Sports Southeast will give back to the city, volunteering in service projects with the Atlanta Community Food Bank Community Gardens (http://acfb.org/about/our-programs/community-gardens), CHRIS 180 (www.chriskids.org/home-page), Covenant House (www.covenanthouse.org), Fountain of Hope (http://fohfoodbank.org/), Medshare (http://www.medshare.org/) and United Methodist Children’s Home (http://www.umchildrenshome.org/). The Atlanta Hawks are providing each organization with complimentary ticket vouchers for the special Unity Game.
Led by its Diversity and Inclusion Council, the Hawks will once again take part in the 46th Atlanta Pride Festival on Sunday, Oct. 9th. For the first time, the Hawks will build and ride its own custom float to ride through the parade.
The two rivals - Hawks (108-56; .659) and Cavaliers (110-54; .671) - have posted the top two records in the Eastern Conference over the past two seasons and have met in the postseason each year. The matchup will be broadcast live on FOX Sports Southeast beginning at 7:30 p.m. and can be heard on the Hawks’ flagship radio station, CBS RADIO’S SportsRadio 92-9 The Game. Tickets for the Unity Game can be purchased atwww.hawks.com/unitygame.
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