If you’ve been out and about lately (hopefully it's not a frequent occurrence), you’ve probably noticed a sharp rise in face mask usage, a public safety measure aimed at limiting the spread of coronavirus. Protective masks have been flying off shelves nationwide and soon hoops fans can wear them while supporting their favorite team.
According to Sports Illustrated's Ben Pickman, Florida-based retail company Fanatics is partnering with the NBA and WNBA to produce face cloths donning team logos for sale online with proceeds going to charitable initiatives including Feeding America and Second Harvest in Canada. The masks will soon be available for purchase on both NBAStore.com and WNBAStore.com.
Fanatics has been at the forefront of COVID-19 relief efforts, temporarily converting its domestic factory in Pennsylvania (where Major League Baseball produces its uniforms) into a production facility for masks, gowns and other medical wear to equip hospital workers fighting in the trenches. The company’s founder and executive chairman Michael Rubin was also responsible for launching the popular All-In Challenge, a movement by athletes and other celebrities to auction off memorabilia and other unique gifts to benefit non-profit organizations including America’s Food Fund, Meals on Wheels, No Kid Hungry and World Central Kitchen. Current prizes include a chance to play H.O.R.S.E. and sit courtside with Lakers legend Magic Johnson ($55,000 bid), attending the Buccaneers’ home opener and sharing a post-game meal with Tom Brady ($140,000) and the keys to Eli Manning’s Corvette convertible he was given for winning Super Bowl MVP in 2012 (only 5,830 miles on the odometer!).
The COVID-19 crisis is ongoing but at least Fanatics and others are doing their part to lend a helping hand in this time of great uncertainty.