Sixers Notes: Team flies home after postponement, announces Black business initiative

76ers
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers saw their Sunday-night matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder postponed because of NBA health-and-safety protocols deeming the Sixers did not have the necessary eight players required to play. 

It’s believed it stems from their recent meeting with the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday in which the Sixers had 12 players available in the 106-104 loss. Grizzlies center Jonas Valenciunas entered the league’s COVID protocol where it is believed that he has tested positive for the virus.

The subsequent contact tracing is what had the Sixers miss out on Sunday’s action. 

It’s hardly the Sixers’ first run-in with the virus this season. Veteran guard Seth Curry, in his first season with the team, tested positive for COVID on Jan. 7 when the team was in Brooklyn. It forced Philadelphia to roll out just eight players in a Jan. 9 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Curry won’t be eligible to return to the team until Wednesday where the Sixers are scheduled to host the Boston Celtics. 

The status of that game is unknown at this time. 

After staying in Oklahoma City on Sunday night, the Sixers traveled back home to Philadelphia on Monday afternoon with the entire team and staff testing negative.

 

Sixers accepting applications for ‘Buy Black Program’

The 76ers announced on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, that they are now accepting applications for the organization’s “Buy Black Program” in continuance of ownership’s action plan and $20 million commitment to racial equity. 

This program was created to “promote local, Black-owned businesses and provide them with expert marketing consultation, advertising value, educational programs, and additional tools to succeed.”

“Black businesses contribute so much to our economy and culture. Unfortunately, they are less prevalent, and they average less than a third of annual sales compared to white-owned businesses in our region,” David Gould, 76ers Chief Diversity and Impact Officer, said. “It’s important that we acknowledge past policies, such as lending discrimination and segregation, that have kept Black business owners from accessing the investment and customer base that will help them grow and succeed. The Buy Black program is about celebrating all that Black Businesses have to offer our region and connecting them with the exposure and resources which they may not have had access to in the past. Leveraging the 76ers brand to help grow local, Black businesses is both a privilege and a responsibility.”

If selected, businesses will work with Sixers’ partnership activation team to discover optimal strategies to grow their brand. They will also receive a boost from the franchise’s social-media and marketing team to amplify their voice across the community. 

Applications will be accepted now through Feb. 2. Those interested in applying can visit Sixers.com/BuyBlack.

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