In 2014, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), and the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) announced a five-year commitment to support My Brother’s Keeper, a multi-sector effort launched by President Obama to help put boys and young men of color on a pathway to success. The partnership between MENTOR and the NBA family resulted in the creation of the In Real Life campaign, designed to highlight the life-changing impact of mentoring and to recruit 25,000 new mentors, with a focus on adult males of color.
In 2016, the NBA, its teams, and players teamed up with MENTOR and its network of affiliates to launch the In Real Life campaign using a combination of PSAs, grassroots events, and social media. In its first year, several NBA players (Marcus Smart, Carmelo Anthony, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Al Horford) appeared in videos sharing their personal experiences with mentoring and NBA All-Star Stephen Curry teamed up with President Obama to film “The Mentorship,” a viral video highlighting the lighter side of mentoring that inspired tens of thousands of volunteers to search the Mentoring Connector for local opportunities.
“If we invested more in mentoring, we wouldn’t have to invest as much in what I do.”
-Alex Hill, FBI Agent and Mentor
Alex Hill was one of those fans who saw “The Mentorship” video and searched the Mentoring Connector for a way to get involved. He was surprised to discover that there was a mentoring program already working with young people in his daughter’s school system, so he decided to participate. Now, Alex is a mentor at the Gwinnett County Public Schools Community-Based Mentoring Program, where he goes every two weeks and works with a group of students. He’s partially there to help his mentees succeed in the classroom, but also loves to hear their stories and the challenges that they face each day.
After 20 years of service in law-enforcement, Alex is convinced that providing guidance to kids before they end up on his side of the law is a “win-win” for everyone. “You just don’t know when you’re planting that seed that tomorrow might make a big difference in their lives. If we invested more in mentoring, we wouldn’t have to invest as much in what I do,” he says.
That is the power of mentoring, in real life.
That’s why MENTOR and the NBA family are doubling down. Since the launch of the partnership, more than 25,000+ new mentors like Alex Hill have already signed up to make a difference in the lives of young people around the country – and the NBA family is not stopping there.
Inspired by stories like his, the NBA family announced in December that they are doubling their original commitment by signing on to recruit an additional 25,000 mentors, for a total of 50,000 new mentors. Players and teams are already working to expand the reach of the In Real Life campaign, including Isaiah Thomas, Tobias Harris, Aaron Gordon, Blake Griffin, and Dwight Howard, who all appeared in the “Mentoring Flipped” video series, which depicts NBA stars being “mentored” by young, aspiring athletes.
“If you can take the time to be entertained, you can take the same amount of time to invest in someone else that can make a lifetime of a difference.”
Now is the perfect time to become a mentor to one of nine million young people currently waiting for someone like you! You can support the NBA’s commitment to recruit 25,000 new mentors by applying to be a mentor today. As Alex Hill says, “If you can take the time to be entertained, you can take the same amount of time to invest in someone else that can make a lifetime of a difference.” Become a mentor today!