ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA - The WTA (Women's Tennis Association) along with 13 other 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 WTA, ATP, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, NWSL, USGA, WNBA, 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.
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 including WTA stars Ashleigh Barty, Bianca Andreescu, Coco Gauff, Naomi Osaka, and Victoria Azarenka 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, for example the WTA 4 Love humanitarian campaign aimed at supporting those affected by the coronavirus. Through "The Real Heroes Project," the sports community will come together to salute heroic individuals across the healthcare system.
The WTA and the sports world invite 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.
Featured leagues and athletes include:
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 US Open followed by 2019 Australian Open, Naomi Osaka; 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, Ashleigh Barty; and former WTA World No.1 with 20 WTA career singles titles, Victoria Azarenka
Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) – Professional doubles tennis players, and most successful duo of all time, Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan
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
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, and professional 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-Star guard Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Phoenix Mercury and two-time WNBA All-Star and 2018 WNBA MVP forward Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm (#WNBATogether)
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) – WWE Superstars John Cena, Triple H and Charlotte Flair