In December 1996, the National Basketball Association's New Jersey Nets (Nets) mounted an educational and media campaign aimed at reducing smoking among youth.
The Nets used stadium signage, public address announcements, radio and television Public Service Announcements, and printed materials to disseminate anti-tobacco messages to fans during their 1997 and 1998 seasons.
In partnership with New Jersey Breathes, a statewide tobacco-free coalition and an RWJF SmokeLess States® national program grantee, the Nets extended their efforts into communities and schools throughout New Jersey and enlisted the support of young people through an incentive program that rewarded their tobacco-free awareness projects with free tickets to Nets home games.
The team became a model for other professional sports franchises interested in replicating its anti-tobacco campaign.
In addition, As a result of the relationship built with the Nets through these grants, RWJF, through its Sports Philanthropy project (Grant ID#s 037939 and 038221), was instrumental in helping the Nets establish the New Jersey Nets Foundation, which is focusing its efforts on at-risk youth in urban communities in New Jersey.