Green College Sports

Green Hoops Heaven:’s March Mania and NBA Green Week Presented By Sprint


Last week, GreenSportsBlog featured Organizing For Action’s (OFA’s) Climate Change Fantasy Tournament, a March Madness-style bracket in which visitors to the site voted for the biggest climate change deniers in Congress (Oklahoma Senator Jim Onhofe is the “winner”.)

We’re continuing with the March Madness-Meets-Green theme, with’s March Mania. And the pros are getting into the act, too, with NBA Green Week Presented By Sprint. Ah, it’s a veritable Green Hoops Heaven!!


The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen games start in a couple hours, with games in Cleveland (Wichita State vs. Notre Dame, undefeated Kentucky vs. West Virginia) and Los Angeles (North Carolina vs. Wisconsin, Xavier vs. Arizona) tonight. Tomorrow night Syracuse (NC State vs. Louisville, Oklahoma vs. Michigan State) and Houston (Duke vs. Utah, Gonzaga vs. UCLA) take center stage.

A different type of Sweet 16 is taking place at this week at  The online energy marketplace that allows consumers to shop for the best prices in electricity supply in certain states is also building a platform on the site to educate visitors on clean energy and energy efficiency.

Under its clean energy banner, Saveonenergy is is running its first-ever March Madness style contest between the Sweet 16 schools, March Mania. The match ups are different than the actual games on the hardwood. According to company spokeswoman Elizabeth Brown, the company re-seeded the schools according to a formula that took into account the universities’:

  • Campus-wide waste diversion rates, from self-reported and Princeton Review data
  • Greenness (or not) of recent new on-campus construction
  • Greenness (or not) of the operations of the basketball arena

So, while Kentucky is the unanimous number school from a basketball point of view, Saveonenergy’s sustainability formula has the Wildcats ranked as a 10 seed. The top spot went to the University of Maryland Terrapins, owing, in part, to the College Park school’s 90 percent diversion rate.

Once the seedings were set, Saveonenergy then went about playing the “games”, matching the teams up on clean transportation plans, works of green service by the basketball teams, new green initiatives on campus, etc. Highlights included:

  • #1 seed Maryland holding off #16 Kansas (just like in basketball, a 16 just can’t beat a 1!)
  • #10 Kentucky got through to the Elite 8 with an upset of #7 Gonzaga
  • In a rematch of the classic 1982 Final, in which a fellow named Michael Jordan hit a game winning baseline jumper, North Carolina (#11) again beat Georgetown (#6)

The Green Elite 8 has a strong ACC feel — five of the eight schools hail from that conference, and Maryland only recently left to join the Big Ten. The match ups are: #1 Maryland vs. old rival (and very green) Duke (#9), ACC foes Virginia (#4) against Notre Dame (#5), Iowa State (#2) vs. Kentucky (#10) and North Carolina (#11) against #3 Louisville. The remaining rounds will be played out over the next few days so a green March Mania champion will be crowned before the basketball champ is determined.


saveonenergy’s March Mania bracket. The online energy marketplace reseeded the Sweet 16 schools from the actual NCAA Tournament on the basis of a series of metrics measuring the universities’ sustainability/greenness. Then the schools “play” each other, graded on additional green metrics.



The NBA usually takes a back seat to college hoops in March. This year is no different — unless you include the alleged LeBron-Kevin Love “we’re not BFFs” kerfuffle (love that word!)

In terms of green, the NBA is definitely not ceding the spotlight to Green March Mania. In fact, we are in the midst of NBA Green Week Presented By Sprint (it runs from March 23-29). Per a blog post by Alice Henly (Alice Henly’s Blog) at NRDC, the NBA “is the only professional sports league to dedicate an entire week every year to educating fans about environmental stewardship with simple steps they can do at home.”

Of course, I’m greedy — why not an entire green season from the NBA?!

Hey, if the NHL can go Carbon Neutral for the 2014-15 season, why can’t the NBA? Just sayin’
But I digress. The NBA and Sprint are activating Green Week in a number of cool ways. The coolest, to my mind, is the “Treys For Trees” (GSB’s term) program in which the NBA will plant three trees for every three point shot hit during Green Week.

The Golden State Warriors’ MVP candidate and NBA 3 Point Shooting Contest Winner Steph Curry already is responsible for 30 trees in just two games since Green Week began and has two more before the promotion ends to up that number.

In addition, says Henly/Alice Henly’s Blog :

  • The league is working with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant a tree each time #NBAGreen (yes, that means YOU!) is posted by fans (up to 25,000 trees) throughout the week.
  • NBA Cares is posting “three pointers” with #NBAGreen social channels that will combine game highlights with simple green tips to help fans reduce, reuse and recycle.
  • Sprint worked with former Celtic Rick Fox and former Clipper Baron Davis to host phone recycling events in Boston and Los Angeles.
  • Many of the individual teams ran/are running recycling programs, hands-on service projects, and tree planting campaigns.
  • Sprint/NBA Green Week videos are running in arena during the promotion.


rick fox

Rick Fox, formerly of the Boston Celtics, along with Celtics cheerleaders and team mascot took part in phone recycling events in Boston as part of NBA Green Week Presented By Sprint. (Photo credit: Boston Herald)

If any of you are watching NBA games on ESPN and/or TNT this week instead of the NCAA Tournament, and you see a Sprint NBA Green Week PSA, please let us know. Otherwise, enjoy the hoops–and how the games are greening!



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Dale Vince, OBE; Chairman, Forest Green Rovers

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