The NBA basketball team’s drive was launched in February during African-American History Month to bring greater awareness of the disorder to the African-American community. Black men in the United States have a roughly 15 percent chance of developing prostate cancer during their lifetime — 5 percent more than white men — and are also more likely to have a more aggressive form than other racial and ethnic groups.
“We are deeply grateful to the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for their all-star efforts to engage their audience through basketball to address the real problem we face in this country of too many African-American men dying from prostate cancer,” Jonathan W. Simons, MD, the foundation’s president and CEO, said in a press release.
According to the foundation, information about disease risks and screening reached roughly 120,000 Atlanta-area residents at State Farm Arena during Hawks home games in February, and millions more through digital outreach efforts.
Former star player and Hawks vice chairman of the board Grant Hill, and his father, NFL legend Calvin Hill, filmed a public service announcement that was broadcast throughout February on various Hawks channels. In addition, information about the disease was posted on the Hawks website.
The team had pledged to donate $250 per assist in February from the Hawks Foundation. The $73,750 that effort garnered was matched by the team’s principal owner Tony Ressler, who pitched in another $76,250.
“Lives will not only be saved through education and awareness created about the disease, but also through the Hawks’ generous contribution to science, which will be utilized for projects directly related to addressing the issue of disparity in African-American prostate cancer,” Simons said.
The Hawks are the first NBA team to partner with PCF about the cancer that affects more than 4 million men in the United States and 14 million globally. It’s the most common non-skin cancer among men and the fourth-most common tumor diagnosed globally. If the cancer is caught early, 99 percent of patients live at least five years after their diagnosis, according to the foundation.
Funds raised by the Hawks will be added to the more than $10 million the PCF has earmarked for research to learn more about why black men are disproportionately affected by the disease, and how to address the issue.
The PCF is the world’s leading nonprofit organization funding and accelerating prostate cancer investigations.