The National Basketball Association (NBA), in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), has announced that its inaugural NBA Green Week 2009 will tip off on April 2 and run through April 10.

During Green Week, the entire NBA family will team up to generate awareness and funding to protect the environment through special oncourt apparel, auctions to support environmental preservation organizations, hands-on community service projects, and the launch of a public service announcement featuring Hollywood icon, noted environmentalist and NRDC Trustee, Robert Redford. In addition, NBA.com will launch a new micro site, www.nba.com/green, featuring everything from greening tips for fans to interviews with NBA players.

As part of NBA Green Week 2009, adidas will outfit all players with 100 percent organic cotton adidas shooting shirts featuring the NBA Green logo. The Denver Nuggets, Charlotte Bobcats, and the Chicago Bulls will wear green-colored uniforms and socks made from 45 percent organic cotton during select home games throughout the week to raise additional environmental awareness. NBA.com will also host an online auction of Spalding basketballs, made from 40 percent recycled materials and autographed by NBA players. The auction will tip off on April 2 and continue through April 16, with all proceeds benefiting the NRDC.

“The NBA’s commitment to reduce its ecological impact and to help educate basketball fans worldwide about the importance of environmental protection confirms why this league is regarded as one of the world’s most responsible sports organizations,” said NRDC Senior Scientist Allen Hershkowitz, who coordinated the organization’s development of this work. “Besides the tangible public health benefits that this initiative will advance, having the NBA embrace ecological criteria in its operations represents a watershed in our nation’s movement toward environmental progress.”

Each of the league’s 30 teams will encourage fans to participate in greening efforts by hosting community service events, including tree plantings, recycling drives, park clean-up days, the creation of “green” Reading & Learning Centers using environmentally friendly materials, and putting on in-arena Go Green Awareness Nights featuring auctions to support environmental protection programs and promotions to encourage fans to implement green habits.

“With the guidance and support of NRDC, the league and our teams are implementing new and innovative measures to offset energy usage and waste production in our offices and arenas and at all of our events,” said NBA Executive Vice President of Social Responsibility and Player Programs Kathleen Behrens. “NBA Green Week 2009 serves as a reminder to fans that we can all work to reduce our environmental footprint.”

Last season, the NBA and NRDC launched the NBA Team Greening Advisor, www.greensports.org/nba, a Web-based environmental resource guide customized to help teams and arena operators identify ways to employ sound environmental practices. Green modifications are currently underway in many team arenas, including the US Airways Center, Staples Center, AT&T Center and Air Canada Centre. Modifications include installing solar panels and wind-powered energy sources to minimize energy consumption, putting in water-saving fixtures, purchasing energy credits and carbon offsets, and implementing recycling programs. The American Airlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat, is currently being considered by the U.S. Green Building Council for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification. Several other NBA team arenas are in the process of applying for LEED green building certifications.

To further encourage fans to reuse and recycle during NBA Green Week, the NBA Store in New York City will host “Recycling Dreams,” a footwear drive to collect gently worn athletic shoes. Customers who bring in shoes will receive a 20 percent discount on their purchase of new athletic shoes. All donated footwear will go to Hoops 4 Hope, a global not-for-profit organization that supports youth development throughout southern Africa with programs that teach life skills through the game of basketball. In addition, the NBA Store, NBAStore.com, Dick’s Sporting Goods and select team retailers will feature the 100 percent organic cotton adidas shooting shirts, recycled Spalding basketballs, and Team Bean reusable shopping bags made from recycled materials, in addition to more environmentally friendly items, giving fans the opportunity to “buy green.”

This season, the NBA is taking steps to become a more environmentally responsible organization and will continue to explore ways of improving in this area. As part of its greening efforts around its signature events, the NBA recently purchased green energy credits to offset power usage for NBA All-Star 2009 and plans to implement additional eco-friendly measures while in Dallas for NBA All-Star 2010. To learn more about what the NBA and its teams are doing to “Go Green”, please go to www.nba.com/green.

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