During their time in the NBA’s Disney World bubble, the Sixers had internal discussions about potential avenues for community activism and initiatives. Matisse Thybulle’s vlogs provided a fascinating look at some of those conversations during a turbulent time as players juggled returning to competition during a pandemic with a myriad of concerns outside basketball.
On Wednesday, the team launched a new project, announcing the “Vote 76” initiative. At the website Sixers.com/vote, there's information on key voting deadlines and logistics in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, links for those interested in becoming a poll worker and taking the census, and more.
The team partnered on the initiative with “More Than A Vote,” which aims to fight “systemic, racist voter suppression by educating, energizing, and protecting the community in 2020.”
The Sixers will work with the PA Alliance Foundation and The Voter Project to “educate fans on mail-in voting while focusing on communities of color and low-turnout communities,” according to a press release.
Thybulle chose to wear “Vote” on the back of his jersey at Disney World.
“My dad was born and raised in Haiti and as he grew up out there, they had a dictator,” Thybulle said in July. “And that’s not something many people in the U.S. are aware of or understand the reality of. So to be raised with that perspective and to understand and appreciate what it means to have a vote and to be a part of a democracy where your opinion matters, it’s taken for granted, I think, a lot. It’s something I’m passionate about, my family is passionate about and I think a lot of other players are as well.”
Voting was an emphasis within the three commitments the NBA and NBPA announced last month, in addition to the formation of a social justice coalition. Comcast Spectacor and Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment offered the Wells Fargo Center for use in the November election. However, Nick Custodio, deputy commissioner under Lisa Deeley, chair of the Philadelphia City Commissions, told The Inquirer that the city had “already identified more convenient locations.”
The NBA made its commitments to address social injustice and racial inequality after players went on strike following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who is now paralyzed from the waist down.