The NBA Hits a Three-Pointer with a Small Carbon Footprint: Green Initiatives Take Center Court


The National Basketball Association is quickly becoming just as famous for getting bottles in bins as it is for balls in hoops. That’s because the NBA has partnered with the National Resource Defense Council to drastically reduce the carbon footprint of the world’s preeminent basketball league. From green building to grassroots activism, the NBA is showing initiative in making professional sports a more sustainable venture.

On February 12, as part of the lead up to this month’s All-Star game in New Orleans, the NBA hosted a star-studded event promoting cell phone and electronic recycling. Former NBA players PJ Brown and Dikembe Mutombo met fans and signed autographs at the Sprint Store in Harvey, Louisiana. The two former players helped fans recycle their old cell phones and left with positive reviews about the NBA’s green initiative. The Times-Picayune quoted Dikembe Mutombo saying, “This is a great initiative to help America go green.” Also during this month’s All-Star week, the NBA will host a Discover Green event which will feature bicycle-powered cell phone charging stations and simple tips to help reduce your daily environmental impact.

Last April, as part of its partnership with the NRDC, the NBA pledged to offset 10 million pounds of CO2 emissions. Also during Green Week, players wore special t-shirts with the NBA’s green initiative logo to help raise awareness for its programs. And the green initiatives are not confined to the 30 teams in the NBA, as minor league teams such as the Santa Cruz Warriors have teamed up with non-profits to promote the community’s environmental health.

Aside from these community greening events, the league is also taking steps to ensure its games have as small an impact as possible. The NBA’s newest arena, Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, recently became the first sports and entertainment venue in the New York metro area to achieve a LEED silver status. Barclays Center achieved this distinction through its installation of low-flow toilets, 91% sustainable wood features, and a Cor-Ten steel framework.

The NBA is working hard to green its game, and it appears that other professional sports leagues such as Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League are trying to do their part as well. Because of the unique platform that these leagues possess, their contributions to environmental awareness and alternative energies are invaluable, and we hope that they continue to lead the way. – Callum Beals

This article originally appeared on Sierra Magazine

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Image: CJ