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Alice Henly’s Blog

NBA Teams Play Green In Celebration of Green Week 2013

Alice Henly

Posted April 4, 2013

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nbagreenweek_email_4.jpgThe NBA stands alone as the only major professional sports league in the world to host an annual weeklong celebration of environmental stewardship—NBA Green Week, April 4th to 12th. The league and many of its teams are embracing this opportunity to promote protecting our planet again this year.

To find out about the many league-based Green Week initiatives already underway this month, in partnership with the NRDC Sports Project, please check out these two blogs: “NBA Launches Environmental Data System During Green Week 2013” and “NBA’s Green Week Is Unique”.

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In addition to the league initiatives, many NBA teams have hosted or will host a wide variety of Green Week-related events in communities across the country. For example:

  • The Portland Trail Blazers are launching their annual “Bike to Blazers” event during their Green Awareness Game (April 17 vs. Dallas). For the event, they encourage fans to meet at a specified location downtown and bike a predetermined route to the game wearing their Trail Blazers colors. The Blazers’ LEED Gold certified Rose Garden Arena has bicycle parking for over 200. But due to the popularity of this event, the Blazers provide additional bike parking.
  • The Minnesota Timberwolves’ FastBreak Foundation has teamed up again with My 29 to create a statewide “Think Green” school competition encouraging schools to submit their plan on who their school or classroom is making the effort to 'Go Green' and preserve and protect the environment. The winning school receives a $2,500 grant, a 'Green Wolfie' trophy, and on-court recognition on April 13th.
  • The Houston Rockets helped students from the Briscoe and Rodriguez Elementary transition their winter garden to spring garden and assisted with composting. Rockets staff also planted 25 trees at Houston Gardens Elementary. And for their first Green Week game against the Magic, the Rockets will give out a Rockets reusable water bottle to the first 3,000 fans in attendance at their LEED Silver certified Toyota Center.
  • The New York Knicks will contribute to a Volunteer Planting Day in the Bronx, which is part of New York City’s “Million Trees” program.  The Knicks also have an ongoing “3’s for Trees” program that plants a tree in a New York City Park for every 3-pointer a Knicks player makes in a game.
  • Leading up to NBA Green Week, San Antonio Spurs guard Danny Green joined students from MacArthur High School’s Team Up Challenge group and the San Antonio River Authority to plant flowers and conduct water testing along the banks of the San Antonio River. 
  • The Boston Celtics supported the Wetherbee School recycling contest to encourage each student to recycle soda, juice and plastic water bottles. Volunteers from the Boston Celtics read “I Can Save the Earth!” before a school-wide recycling assembly to discuss the importance of taking care of the environment and ways everyone can help to maintain a green Earth. Students were also treated to a dunk show with Celtics mascot Lucky.
  • The Atlanta Hawks are planting trees along the Atlanta Belt Line and donating $7,500 to Trees Atlanta for further beautification projects during their April 12th game vs. Milwaukee. The Hawks also have an ongoing “Three’s for Trees” program at their LEED Certified Philips Arena.
  • The Toronto Raptors are hosting an NBA Green Night with environmental education and messaging for all fans as well as information about the arena’s successful reduction of utility consumption by 10%, greenhouse gases by 30% and divert 74% of waste from landfill.
  • The Chicago Bulls are educating their fans about how they can reduce their impact on the environment with an online green act contest to win game tickets.
  • The Memphis Grizzlies are hosting a “Grizzlies Go Green Expo,” on April 13th where fans will learn how to live greener, thanks to volunteers from Memphis and Mid-South sustainability non-profit groups. There will also be special “Green Tips” shown during the game to educate fans and a special, expanded in-arena recycling collection. Food will also be served using a special plant-based biodegradable product. To help further promote awareness of the importance of recycling, Coors Light will be offering fans a complimentary Grizzlies koozie, made 100% from recycled materials, with the purchase of a Coors Light product.
  • The Denver Nuggets hosted 50 second graders from Dora Moore K-8 School at Denver Botanic Gardens to learn about gardening and the importance of protecting the environment. This included preparing gardens for spring planting, learning about the importance of plants to the environment and planting pansies. 
  • The Orlando Magic is encouraging students to adopt a “Think Green” attitude in their everyday lives by competing in Think Green® Art Contest. Through participation in this art contest, students can learn about the importance of keeping the environment clean while using creativity to show how everyone can have an impact on our ecosystems. As part of the prize, the student will be featured on-court at the LEED Silver certified Amway Center, presented with the Green NBA basketball, and have their artwork displayed at fan fest.
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder holds an annual Green Week initiative that will benefit the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. It will partner with Hertz’s “Hertz 24/7 Give+Go” program that provides donations to local charities when customers rent certain vehicles. Two “green” vehicles in the Hertz On Demand 24/7 fleet will be wrapped with Thunder colors and logos. Between now and the end of June, every time the cars are rented, the first hour of each rental will be donated to the Regional Food Bank. A one-hour rental of these vehicles will provide up to 50 meals for Oklahoma families. The cars will be on display during Thunder Alley, the Thunder pregame festivities on Reno Ave., prior to the games on April 4 and 7.

Learn more about the NBA's impressive greening work by reading their case study feature in NRDC’s report “Game Changer: How the Sports Industry is Saving the Environment”.

Download your copy of the full report at to find out how the NBA and many NBA teams have teamed up with NRDC to implement greener, more efficient practices.

Get involved in the growing green sports movement and learn about the NRDC Sports Project by following us at @NRDCGreenSports.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit

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