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Md. wealth manager, NBA star help WNBA players during pandemic

The Hunt Valley-based Peak Wealth Management Group at UBS is partnering with NBA star Kyrie Irving and the KAI Empowerment Initiative to help women who have opted out of the 2020 WNBA season because of COVID-19 concerns with a financial literary course.

Irving, a six-time all-star with the Brooklyn Nets, began the KAI Empowerment Initiative with a $1.5 million donation to supplement the income for players who won’t play this year. The program with Peak Wealth Management Group will give all WNBA players access to a comprehensive financial literacy program created by UBS. As a continuation of his efforts to support and advocate for women and equality, Irving said he wants to ensure that his WNBA colleagues have access to the income and tools needed to obtain their financial goals.

Peak Wealth Management Group’s financial literacy program, the Own Your Worth financial participation program, will be under the guidance of financial advisers Antwyne Delonde and Walt Williams, an 11-year NBA veteran and former star with the Maryland Terrapins.

Delonde said it was important to him to provide financial resources to all women and to support gender-equal opportunities to secure their financial futures.

Irving got in contact with several WNBA players with the assistance of the Washington Mystics’ Natasha Cloud, who is sitting out, and Jewell Loyd of the Seattle Storm to start formulating a plan to help players. In those conversations, Irving said he learned about the challenges and opportunities of their decisions and how it will impact their lives, family and overall wellbeing. He added the platform was created to provide support for all WNBA players in hopes to relieve some of the financial strain imposed during these challenging times. Peak Wealth Management Group was brought in to ensure the players’ financial empowerment continues beyond the initial $1.5 million investment.

The season began Saturday and will be played entirely at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. WNBA players wore Taylor’s name on their jerseys during opening weekend.

Players such as Cloud and Atlanta’s Renee Montgomery opted against playing for social reform reasons, though it’s unclear how many will qualify for Irving’s program.

To be eligible, players must provide insight into the circumstances surrounding their decision and not be receiving salary support from any other entity. An opt-out for medical reasons must be connected to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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