Fourteen professional sports leagues today announced “The Real Heroes Project,” a collaborative initiative to recognize and celebrate healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Athletes representing the ATP, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, NWSL, USGA, WNBA, WTA and WWE, among other professional and esports leagues, including Activision Blizzard Esports and Electronic Arts, are dedicating their jerseys and uniforms to a special healthcare hero who is helping their community on the forefront of this global crisis.
Orlando City SC captain Nani will represent Major League Soccer while, Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan will represent the National Women’s Soccer League.
Nani will pay tribute to Dr. Raymond Franklin, while Morgan will honor Dr. Steve Cheung, whose Pathology and Laboratory teams at Orlando Health came together to create a COVID-19 test that provides results in a matter of hours, not days, thus expediting patient care.
With the help of creative agency 72andSunny, creative production company Hecho Studios, and media publication Adweek, the multi-league public service announcement will debut this Wednesday, May 6 across league and team platforms. Starting today, each participating athlete will share a personal thank you message to their healthcare hero on social media utilizing #TheRealHeroes. Throughout the PSA and personal tributes,athletes will cover their name on their jerseys or uniforms and replace it with the name of their healthcare hero.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the sports world has supported their local and national communities in their own respective efforts. Through “The Real Heroes Project,” the sports community will come together to salute heroic individuals across the healthcare system.
Featured leagues and athletes include:
•Activision Blizzard Esports – Esports athletes Seth "Scump" Abner of Call of Duty League, Li “Liooon” Xiaomeng of Hearthstone Esports, and Matthew “Super” DeLisi of Overwatch League
•Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) – Professional doubles tennis players, and most successful duo of all time, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan
•Electronic Arts (EA) – Reigning FIFA eWorld Cup Champion Mohammed “MoAuba” Harkous, 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup Champion Mosaad "Msdossary" Aldossary, Madden NFL 19 Bowl Champion Drini “Drini” Gjoka,Madden NFL 18 Bowl Champion Seamus “Young Kiv” Kivlen, andprofessional Apex Legends competitors Eric "Snip3down" Wrona and Bowen "Monsoon" Fuller (#StayandPlay)
•Major League Baseball (MLB) – New York Yankees All-Star outfielder Aaron Judge and Milwaukee Brewers All-Star outfielder Christian Yelich
•Major League Soccer (MLS) – Los Angeles Galaxy forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, Toronto FC and U.S. Men’s National Team forward Jozy Altidore, and Orlando City SC forward Nani (#MLSUnites)
•NASCAR – Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch and 2014 NASCAR Cup Series champion and Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick
•National Basketball Association (NBA) – 2020 NBA All-Star and Utah Jazz point guard Donovan Mitchell (#NBATogether)
•National Football League (NFL) – New Orleans Saints All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees, Arizona Cardinals All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and San Francisco 49ers All-Pro tight end George Kittle
•National Hockey League (NHL) – NHL Legend Wayne Gretzky, Chicago Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews and Toronto Maple Leafs Assistant Director of Player Development and former Canadian Women’s ice hockey Gold Medalist Hayley Wickenheiser
•National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) – United States Women's National Soccer Team and Sky Blue FC forward Carli Lloyd and United States Women’s National Soccer Team and Orlando Pride striker Alex Morgan
•United States Golf Association (USGA) - Jordan Spieth, three-time USGA Champion (2015 U.S. Open and 2 U.S. Junior Amateurs), and Lydia Ko, winner of the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur and youngest number-1 ranked player of all-time
•Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) – Four-time WNBA All-Starguard Skylar Diggins-Smith of thePhoenix Mercury and two-time WNBA All-Star and 2018 WNBA MVP forward Breanna Stewart of theSeattle Storm (#WNBATogether)
•Women's Tennis Association (WTA) – American teenage sensation who won her first three WTA titles and broke into the Top 50 at just 15 years old, Coco Gauff; Champion of the 2018 U.S. Open followed by 2019 Australian Open, Naomi Osaka from Japan; highest-ranked Canadian in the history of the WTA and 2019 US Open Champion, Bianca Andreescu; WTA World No.1 and 2019 Roland Garros Champion from Australia, Ashleigh Barty ; and former WTA World No.1 from Belarus with 20 WTA career singles titles, Victoria Azarenka
•World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) – WWE Superstars John Cena, Triple H and Charlotte Flair
The sports world invites fans around the world to join these world-class athletes on social media and dedicate their personal jerseys and team apparel to a frontline individual using the hashtag #TheRealHeroes.