A delegation of five NBA players and several officials from the NBPA met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday for a private audience to discuss their work on social justice issues.
An assistant to Pope Francis reached out to the players' association last week indicating the Pope wanted to learn more about how players had recently brought attention to pressing social justice issues and economic inequality.
The union agreed and quickly scheduled an overnight flight Sunday to make their private meeting with the pope, which happened at 11:45 a.m. local time Monday morning at the Vatican.
Kyle Korver, Sterling Brown, Jonathan Isaac, Anthony Tolliver and Marco Belinelli met with Pope Francis, as did Michele Roberts.
The meeting lasted about an hour at the papal library of the Apostolic Palace, after which the players and union officials toured St. Peter's Square.
"We're here because, frankly, we're inspired by the work that you do globally," Roberts told the pope during the meeting, according to The Associated Press.
Belinelli addressed the pope in Italian, and the group presented the pope with gifts such as a commemorative basketball, a union-produced book highlighting efforts players have taken and an Orlando Magic jersey.
"You're champions," Pope Francis said. "But also giving the example of teammork, you've become a model, giving that good example of teamwork but always remaining humble ... and preserving your own humanity."