The Hawks have teamed with the Prostate Cancer Foundation for a campaign aimed at education and awareness of the disease that affects more than four million men in the United States. The team announced the partnership on Thursday.
Hawks Vice Chair of the Board and Basketball Hall of Famer Grant Hill and NFL great Calvin Hill will lead the effort.
African-American men are 76 percent more likely to be diagnosed with the disease and more than twice as likely to die than men of other ethnicities.
In recognition of Black History Month and to bring greater awareness to the African-American community of the disease, the team and foundation have kicked off the Black History Month Assist Challenge in February. For every assist registered by the Hawks this month, $250 will be donated by the Hawks Foundation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
“We couldn’t be prouder or more excited to be partnering with the Atlanta Hawks organization as they make history as the first National Basketball Association (NBA) team in the league to take on prostate cancer as an issue,” Jonathan W. Simons, MD, PCF’s president and CEO said in a statement released by the Hawks. “It is befitting that during Black History Month, we all work to change the outcomes of the men who are most severely impacted by this disease. Raising awareness of the risks, leading conversations that shift attitudes and making the facts about prostate cancer easily accessible will literally save lives. The Hawks are changing history by altering the course of this disease and its impact on African-American men.”
Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America and the fourth-most common tumor diagnosed worldwide. Despite its frequency, if the cancer is caught at its earliest stages, most men will not experience any symptoms and 99 percent of patients live five years or longer after diagnosis.
The Hawks will celebrate the partnership when the host the Suns on Feb. 23.
“As a member of the Atlanta Hawks ownership team and a black male, I am extremely proud of our partnership with PCF as I believe our work can truly make a difference in the city of Atlanta,” Hill said in a statement. “With the platform we are afforded, we have a responsibility to be a community leader and this is a great opportunity to educate in a way that could potentially save lives.”