Pope Franci met with five NBA players on Monday morning in the Vatican City, reports NBA insider Shams Charania. They discussed the players' social justice efforts.
Three of the players involved were Black, including Sterling Brown, Jonathan Isaac, and Anthony Tolliver.
The latter two are outspoken Christians.
Isaac made headlines during the recent NBA restart in Orlando—a "bubble" environment created at the Disneyland resort—when he opted not to kneel during the national anthem with other players and staff before their games. An ordained minister, he later explained his religious reasons for the stand, but soon injured his knee during play and missed the rest of the season.
Brown was a victim of police brutality in January 2018, and has since become an outspoken social justice advocate.
The other two players at the meeting were Marco Belinelli, an Italian native, and Kyle Korver—who like Tolliver isa churchgoing Protestant and veteran sharpshooter. Korver recently penned articles against White Privilege and White racism for The Players' Tribune, a news network run by professional athletes.
Both Brown and Korver played for the Milwaukee Bucks when Jacob Blake was shot in the back 7 times by the police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, sparking nationwide protests and a short strike by the NBA players during the bubble playoffs.
The meeting was the result of an outreach from the Vatican itself to the NBA Players' Association, the league union. NBPA President Michele Roberts was reportedly present, along with other union officers.
After the meeting, at the Apostolic Palace, the NBA representatives and players toured St. Peter's Square.