Hey, did you know that the Utah Jazz basketball team recently announced that they’re sponsoring guaranteed four-year college scholarships to “underrepresented or minority” student for every win this year? In an interview with the Woj Podcast, an ESPN radio show, Jazz owner, Ryan Smith, discussed the reasoning behind creating this trailblazing path and the possible outcomes. Smith, stated, “to help the minority kids…to help the kids who colleges would overlook just because of their finances.”
The Utah Jazz appears to be the first NBA team to ever take on a task like this. Smith went into deeper intel saying, “A lot of people don’t know the process into getting into college.” That is a very true fact. Getting a higher education can be daunting, especially if you’re a high school senior filling out grants, scholarships, meeting graduation requirements, and on top of all that maintaining your personal life and just being a kid! It can all be pretty tough, especially if you don’t have any idea where the money for college is coming from. According to Smith, the Utah Jazz will go to each college they choose and say, “‘Hey, we want five or six scholarships, guaranteed, we’re going to bring kids who have never had a chance to do this into your university. …And we’re going to help cover the cost, will you accept them?”
The outcome that Smith wants is for all social justice issues to be in the center of the floor, he also expects positive change in the world, especially for the Jazz team organization. This past summer Smith took to Twitter and mentioned different organizations that he’s given donations to and other organizations he wants to help support. He tweeted, “I’m personally matching all employee donations for the next 3 months to Black Lives Matter & NAACP Legal Defense Fund. We expanded to include 5 more orgs. …We need change now.” Smith is really pushing for equality academically and socially, and all with one platform–the Jazz organization.
I'm personally matching all employee donations for the next 3 months to Black Lives Matter & NAACP Legal Defense Fund. We expanded to include 5 more orgs. This is one of many initiatives we're working on. We need change now.
Grateful to our team for their donations & love. pic.twitter.com/Md1L8df8Pb
— Ryan Smith (@RyanQualtrics) June 16, 2020
The Jazz has set an example. Do you think other organizations like the Bulls will take this as a sign of much needed change and follow suit? Or will they just stay in their own lane and focus on themselves? Hit me up and let me know what you think.
By Jaden Stewart, Senior, Perspectives Charter School
Twitter: Smartguy_239| / Instagram: smartguy239