On Sunday, June 26th, New York City hosted the 46th annual NYC Pride March and set a number of personal bests with over 32,000 marchers, 400 groups and 1.8 million spectators flooding Manhattan for the event. The owner of Pulse in Orlando, Florida, Barbara Poma, and manager, Neema Bahrami, rode on the lead float as honored guests of NYC Pride. Among the thousands of marchers were representatives from the NBA and WNBA, making them the first professional sports leagues to have their own float in the parade.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio told the crowd that this year’s parade was a celebration of love, but also a rejection of hate. “When we talk about New York values, our values are inclusion, tolerance, understanding, diversity – that’s what we believe in and that’s what we celebrate today,” he said. “This parade is New York City saying defiantly, ‘We will stand up to hatred. We will stand up to those who try to undermine our values.'” Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also joined the parade in a show of solidarity.
To honor the 49 victims of the attack at Pulse earlier this month, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum wore #OrlandoUnited T-shirts. They were joined by WNBA president Lisa Borders in the parade, as well as former NBA player Jason Collins and former WNBA player Sue Wicks, both of whom made history by coming out during their playing careers.
Current players in the league took notice of the NBA’s and WNBA’s efforts, too. Kevin Durant, who was in New York City for the debut of his new shoe, tweeted that he was, “Excited for the NBA family who will be a part of history today as the first pro sports league to march in NYC Pride! #NBAPride #WNBAPride.”