Teaming Up for Change

RISE, Under Armour, and the NBA Expand Efforts to Positively Impact Community-Police Relations Nationwide

The barriers that exist between members of law enforcement and young people, particularly those of color, are all too common. Breaking down these barriers takes real work to put an end to the cycle of mistrust and racial bias. How does Under Armour support the breakdown of these barriers? On the basketball court.  


RISE is committed to positively impacting community-police relations nationwide. The national nonprofit educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice, and improve race relations. Their vision is of a nation united through sports; one committed to racial equity and social justice. In partnership with Under Armour and the National Basketball Association (NBA), they are expanding the ESPN Sports Humanitarian Award-winning program, Building Bridges Through Basketball



"The fastest and most impactful change can often come at the interpersonal level. Equipping youth and officers with the tools to have these difficult conversations together can not only create shifts in knowledge and attitudes, but also change behaviors that lead to systemic change.” 

Diahann Billings-Burford, CEO, RISE

Building Bridges Through Basketball fosters dialogue and trust between youth and members of law enforcement nationwide. The program unites middle and high school youth with local officers to develop skills on and off the court. The 10-week curriculum provides an opportunity to hear new perspectives, develop trusting relationships, and face collective responsibility to build stronger communities. Previous Building Bridges Through Basketball programs were held in Chicago, Charlotte, Los Angeles, and Detroit.  


Earlier this month, RISE, Under Armour, and the NBA tipped off the first season of Building Bridges Through Basketball in the Bay Area with the Golden State Warriors, McClymonds High School, SPAAT, and Oakland Police Department, and the third year of the program in Charlotte with the Naomi Drenan Recreation Center and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. A grant from Under Armour expands access to the Building Bridges Through Basketball program, bringing it to 10 new cities this year: Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. 


“Stand for Equality is one of our core values at Under Armour. We are committed to uplifting all voices and increasing access to sport through programs like Building Bridges Through Basketball,” says Under Armour Director of Community Impact Flynn Burch. “This program and the relationships built through communication, trust and teamwork will enable both the officers and the athletes to reach their potential both on and off the court.”  


Communities are driving change from within. They’re taking it to court—the basketball court, that is. Under Armour is proud to work with RISE and the NBA to be part of the solution, giving young people access to sport. In the process, law enforcement and communities across the country are finding common ground.  


Connecting youth and members of law enforcement around the game of basketball will drive much-needed change. Building Bridges Through Basketball will take great work, tenacity, and commitment, but it’ll be worth it. The change will happen when we come together on the court.