CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers are hosting a new series of virtual forums focusing on issues facing the Black community, and the team's on-court leader will be taking part.
Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff will be one of three featured speakers during Wednesday's first installment of "Time to Talk," which will air live at 6:30 on Cavs.com as well as the team's social media platforms. The first installment will focus on Black men and mental health, and all are invited to join the conversation for free.
Cavs Vice President of Diversity Inclusion, and Community Engagement Kevin Clayton will moderate the conversation, and Men Thrive Chief Curator Jeff Johnson will also be on hand along with PDLB/Culture Junkie founder Archie Green. Clayton, who is also the chair of Community Health Charities, said:
"As civic and community leaders, now more than ever it is incumbent upon us at the Cavaliers to step forward and have these conversations. We want to offer this as a platform for people not only in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, but everywhere, who want to both hear and be heard. This open and honest dialogue is intended to be one step in the continuing process to help unite and heal. We are thankful to our long-time partners at the NAACP Cleveland Branch for embarking on this necessary journey with us."
Promoted to full-time head coach mid-season following the resignation of John Beilein, Bickerstaff went 5-6 and earned a multi-year contract extension before the coronavirus pandemic shut the NBA down. He has been vocal in recent weeks regarding racism in the United States, with he and general manager Koby Altman calling the death of George Floyd "heartbreaking, appalling, and tragic."
The Cleveland branch of the NAACP will partner with the Cavs to put "Time to Talk" together. Branch President Danielle Sydnor said:
"The NAACP is a grassroots civil rights organization that works on behalf of the community to remove the barriers and obstacles created by racism. In response to recent events in our society, our members came together to create this platform to provide a space where we can have real dialogue about the issues and feelings related to all that is happening right now. While this first session will be focused on Black men, we will continue to expand the topics to address a wide range of issues."
Following their talk, Bickerstaff and the others will answer questions from the virtual audience. Future episodes of the series will focus on other relevant topics.