Bulls guard Rajon Rondo, Chicago native Jabari Parker and a who's who group of athletes, journalists and community activists will take on race, police and gun violence and other topics at a South Side town hall Thursday that will air on ESPN that night. Chance the Rapper helps tackle similar topics on the network the next day.
'His & Hers' co-host Jemele Hill will moderate 'An Undefeated Conversation: Athletes, Responsibility and Violence,' an invitation-only forum on law enforcement, racial profiling and the relationship between sports and activism from 1-3 p.m. Thursday at the South Side YMCA of Metro Chicago. The 90-minute program will air on ESPN2 at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.
Rondo will take part in the panel 'A Call to Action,' addressing athletes' responsibility to influence social issues, according to an ESPN spokesman. Parker was confirmed Friday. The Bucks forward and Simeon Career Academy alumnus recently wrote about his Chicago upbringing and his ideas for solving the city's gun problems in an article for The Players' Tribune.
On Friday, 'First Take' continues the conversation at the YMCA with guests Chance the Rapper, Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas and Michael Eric Dyson and airs live on ESPN2 from 9-11 a.m.
Both forums serve as a launching point for a series of debates organized by The Undefeated, ESPN's online hub for sports, race and culture.
'Athletes, in greater numbers, have been saying they want to use their influence to drive social change,' The Undefeated editor-in-chief Kevin Merida said in a statement. 'We hope this town hall will help push that conversation forward.'
Others joining Rondo and Parker in the 'Undefeated Conversation' include: Ken Williams, White Sox executive vice president; Thomas, a former Pistons great and Chicago native; Marcellus Wiley, 'SportsNation' co-host; Michael Wilbon, 'Pardon the Interruption' co-host and Northwestern and St. Ignatius graduate; Doug Glanville, former Cubs and major-league outfielder and ESPN analyst; Jolinda Wade, mother of Bulls guard Dwyane Wade and pastor of New Creation church; Elizabeth Todd-Breland, University of Illinois at Chicago history professor; Stephanie Brown, a Chicago mother whose son was fatally shot on a basketball court in 2011; and Clinton Yates and Chicago native Lonnae O'Neal, The Undefeated senior writers.