With no NBA games on Election Day, Pistons encourage voter participation

Detroit News

Detroit — There aren’t any NBA games scheduled for Tuesday’s midterm elections, but that doesn’t mean the league is taking a day off.

With all 30 teams having played on Monday ahead of Election Day to help promote voter participation, the league also is sharing important resources from voting organizations and highlighting the civic engagement work of teams in their markets.

The Pistons are no stranger to nonpartisan civic-engagement efforts. The recently partnered with MTV to recognize national “Vote Early Day” on Oct. 28, which included a pregame festival, giveaways, food and photo booths that encouraged fans to make a plan to vote early online. “Detroit Votes” billboards are displayed around the city, featuring Pistons players Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Saddiq Bey.

As it has since the 2020 election, the Pistons midtown practice facility will serve as a receiving board on Tuesday, one of 14 NBA facilities that will be used as a voting registration, tallying or polling location for Election Day.

Tuesday will also mark a paid off-day for Pistons employees, so they can vote and volunteer as election workers.

Last week, Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem penned an opinion piece in The Detroit News urging local citizens to exercise their right to vote.

“Voting rights and election integrity are some of the most important political issues of our time,” Tellem wrote. “In an era of deep divisiveness and extremism, our democracy is at risk and it is vital for every eligible voter in America to stand up and be counted.”

Pistons guard Cade Cunningham appeared in a promotional video on the NBA’s website Monday morning alongside LeBron James, Zion Williamson, Donovan Mitchell, CJ McCollum, Trae Young, Jaylen Brown and former Michigan guard Jordan Poole.

“(I’m) really adamant about trying to educate myself and knowing what is going on, who I’m voting for,” Cunningham said in the spot.

Once Election Day is over, the Pistons will begin a two-game road trip at Boston and New York before returning to Detroit to host the Celtics on Saturday.

‘It’s beautiful for our democracy’

Pistons coach Dwane Casey shared his opinion on the NBA’s decision to have all 30 teams play on Monday night during his pregame news conference.

“It’s beautiful for our democracy and for the cause for everyone to have the opportunity to vote,” Casey said. “It doesn’t matter what side of the ledger you’re on. I think it’s a great gesture for our league. I’m proud to be a part of the NBA just for the forward-thinking of our league. I think we’re at the forefront with that.”

When asked if he thinks the decision will sprinkle into society beyond sports, Casey appeared hopeful.

“Anything that encourages voting,” Casey said. “When I grew up, a lot of African-Americans were afraid to vote. I’ve seen the whole change come about. It’s our right. It’s one of our ways to effect democracy and the way we can do that is by voting. I know that’s what the NBA was thinking. (The Pistons) are one of the two organizations last year that had a voting hub. You see all of our billboards around the city with our players. It’s not telling people who to vote for or how to vote, but to vote. You can’t complain about anything if you don’t vote.”

mcurtis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @MikeACurtis2

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