NBA Players Hailed by Pope at Vatican for Demanding justice

Pope Francis lauded a delegation of NBA players who met with him at the Vatican on Monday as “champions" and said he supported t
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Pope Francis lauded a delegation of NBA players who met with him at the Vatican on Monday as “champions" and said he supported their work on addressing social injustice.

Five players — Marco Belinelli, Sterling Brown, Jonathan Isaac, Kyle Korver and Anthony Tolliver — were joined by NBA players' union executive director Michele Roberts and two other union executives, Sherrie Deans and Matteo Zuretti.

“We're here because, frankly, we're inspired by the work that you do globally," Roberts told the pope during the meeting, which took place in the papal library.

The union said the players spoke about their "individual and collective efforts addressing social and economic injustice and inequality occurring in their communities."

Belinelli addressed the pope in Italian, and the group presented the pope with gifts such as a commemorative basketball, a union-produced book highlighting efforts players have taken and an Orlando Magic jersey.

“You're champions," Pope Francis said. “But also giving the example of teammork, you've become a model, giving that good example of teamwork but always remaining humble ... and preserving your own humanity."

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