With a league that has “over 90%” of its eligible players registered to vote, WNBA Players Association executive director Terri Jackson said attending Hoopers Vote Day on Thursday was a no-brainer.
“WNBA players are precisely the demographic that can motivate people to register to vote and talk about their plans to vote,” Jackson told ESPN this week.
Hoopers Vote is an initiative supported by Rock the Vote, aimed at bringing together members from all corners of the basketball community – including WNBA and NBA players, coaches, basketball stars to retired and members of the basketball media – to promote voter registration and voting. education as the 2020 election season approaches.
Hoopers Vote Day occurs just days after National Voter Registration Day and during National Voter Registration Week.
Hoopers Vote Ambassadors confirmed as participants include Basketball Hall of Fame members such as James Worthy, Alex English and Lisa Leslie; WNBA players Nneka Ogwumike and Layshia Clarendon; and NBA players Duncan Robinson and Jaren Jackson Jr. (who is the son of Terri Jackson). Other contestants include NBA draft prospect Cassius Stanley; Golden State Warriors assistant coach Jarron Collins and his brother, former NBA player Jason Collins; NBA superfan and actor Jerry Ferrara; and former media players such as Steve Smith, Kenny Smith, Quentin Richardson, Channing Frye and Jalen Rose of ESPN.
In order to raise awareness of the campaign and all of the voter registration resources available on HoopersVote.org when the website goes live on Thursday, Ambassadors will post personalized Hoopers Vote images to their social media, in the hope of flood subscriber feeds with the message. Over 200 individual graphics have been commissioned from artist Elliot Gerard, with the potential to reach millions of users.
“I think it’s a great strategy,” Terri Jackson said. “You can say, ‘What is a T-shirt for? Or, “What’s the impact of that, really?” Well, this is phenomenal. Especially with a league like ours. We’re small enough to organize ourselves – around our executive committee and our player representatives – and then we’re big enough to make a statement. I think that’s the beauty of our league. “
The Hoopers Vote website will serve as a virtual voting hub where players, team members, fans and the rest of the basketball community can learn by viewing their state’s voting policies, registering election reminders and, of course, registering to vote or verify. their registration status on the electoral rolls.
“The messages players share on social media, their shirts, pre-game gear and other platforms are more than words. These messages include a vision and a mission,” said the president of Rock the Vote, Carolyn DeWitt, in a statement to ESPN. “Hoopers Vote is a movement that brings the basketball community together to amplify the power we have to vote and make an impact on issues affecting our communities. “
As part of the Hoopers Vote partnership, Rock the Vote, the WNBPA and the WNBA will be releasing a Public Service Announcement this week detailing how to become an informed voter that will air on ESPN.
“Having and using my right to vote means I have a voice in running this country,” English, the 20th top scorer in NBA history, said in a statement. “Even if it’s just a vote, it’s important. One drop of water helps every other drop to create immense power for our oceans.”
Jackson, who joined the WNBPA in 2016, explained that the Hoopers Vote mission aligns with his players’ commitment to use their platform for social change.
“If we are talking about Black Lives Matter, if we are talking about the Say Her Name campaign and we are talking about the political initiatives that have to come out of it and surround it to really support these movements, this campaign, then we are talking about voting,” said Jackson.
“We are talking about those who make policy in the executive branch. We are talking about those who apply it. We are talking about those who enact laws in the legislative branch. And those who will preside over civil and criminal cases in the judicial field. … [In] figuring out how to connect the dots, it all led to the vote. “
NBA players came under fire when it was revealed during an emergency meeting following the Milwaukee Bucks protest against a playoff game where only about 20% of eligible voters voted in the last election , according to Marc Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated. Since that meeting, more material has been made available inside the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida to encourage voter registration.
Hoopers Vote joins other voting initiatives with basketball roots focusing on voting in the world of sports. More than a vote backed by LeBron James and the Social Change Fund, which was created by Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade, are among others.
“How do you keep the momentum going? How to achieve the objectives? Jackson said. “You do this by empowering people to recognize what the power of their vote will mean and what it will do.”