Coby White is linking up with Zenni Optical to donate a significant number of Bulls-branded “Blokz” glasses, which specialize in blocking blue light emanating off screens, to kids beginning their school year.
Zenni reported 3,500 total pairs of Blokz in the donation. Nearly 3,000 will be distributed across more than 50 Chicago after school programs. Additionally, over 600 will go to teachers and students of Eastern Wayne Middle School in Goldsboro, N.C. — White’s hometown and middle school alma mater.
The glasses will help protect students and teachers’ eyes given the increased screen time that will come from starting the school year, especially with the current nationwide focus on e-learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donation continues White’s commitment to give back to communities close to him. He mentors multiple young basketball players in Goldsboro when he’s able to return, passing forward the guidance and support he received from close family and friends in his childhood.
“When I go home, I try to just help kids and mentor kids as much as possible and try to help them realize that there is a way out — and not necessarily with basketball, but anything in life,” White told NBC Sports Chicago in August while promoting his participation in a Jr. NBA youth mentorship workshop.
“I just tell them that I'm always here no matter what, no matter where I am, most of the kids I mentor they have my number, so they can hit me up any time they need to talk about anything. Anything they need, I would have their back through it all.”
Initiatives such as this demonstrate his commitment to that cause, and will be especially felt during a global pandemic that has disrupted the lives of so many.
Zenni is the official eyewear partner of the Bulls and the team’s jersey sponsor. The two regularly team up for promotions, with Zach LaVine, Wendell Carter Jr., Ryan Arcidiacono and White all serving as brand ambassadors.
Now, White and the rest of the Bulls are gearing up for voluntary group workouts at the Advocate Center, which will run from Sept. 21 through Oct. 6. Those workouts, which can range from practices, to scrimmages, to skill and conditioning sessions, mark the Bulls’ first group activities since their season was cut short due to COVID-19 in March. Participating players will quarantine at a downtown hotel, be tested for COVID-19 regularly and shuttle to the Advocate Center to create a "campus" environment.
White’s sights are set on personal improvement — and nabbing the team’s starting point guard spot — entering Year 2 after a terrific close to his rookie campaign that recently culminated in an All-Rookie second-team selection.
But mostly, he’s just looking forward to getting back out on the floor. As, it seems, is the rest of the team.
“Some of us haven't really played basketball or been down and played 5-on-5 in so long, so in that aspect it'll be good,” White recently said on a Zoom teleconference with reporters. “Cause for a lot of us basketball is our therapy. So for us it'll be good to just get back with our brothers on the court and hooping again and having fun, so there's that aspect of it as well. A lot of us I feel like are really looking forward to it.”