‘NBA together’

NEW YORK (AFP) - The NBA launched a global social engagement campaign Friday aimed at educating, inspiring and helping people respond to the coronavirus pandemic that has shut down the league season.

The ''NBA Together'' program will include daily Instagram interviews with players and others in the NBA, educational programs, online content aimed at youth who can't play with friends and a call for ''one million acts of kindness'' through volunteering and community activity.

The NBA suspended the season last week after a player tested positive for coronavirus with no timetable for a return.

The league wants to contribute and help raise more than $50 million to support people hit by coronavirus, including more than $30 million already committed by NBA and Women's NBA players and teams.

A series of public service videos has been made by 18 NBA and Women's NBA players to share health and wellness information about ways to reduce the coronavirus spread.

They have been watched more than 37 million times on NBA social media outlets.

In Washington, University of Georgia star guard Anthony Edwards declared his eligibility for the 2020 NBA Draft on Friday, ending his college career after a single season.

Edwards, considered a top candidate to be the overall number one pick in the next NBA Draft, led all US collegiate freshmen with 19.1 points a game.

He also contributed 5.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.3 steals a contest for a Bulldogs squad that went 16-16 before their season was ended by the coronavirus outbreak.

''Georgia will always be my home but I'm ready to take my game to the next level and have decided to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft,'' Edwards wrote in a Twitter posting.

''I hope I have made you all proud but the work is far from finished... I'm excited for what the future holds.

''The next chapter starts now. Let's get it.''

The 18-year-old from Atlanta stands 6-foot-5 (1.96m) and weighs 225 pounds (102kg) and is widely considered no worse than a top-five pick in the draft, an exact spot depending on the needs of whichever club wins the NBA Draft Lottery.

Exactly how an order will be determined for the NBA Draft, or when it might be conducted, remain uncertain in the wake of the league's shutdown dur to the coronavirus outbreak.