San Antonio Spurs guard Marco Belinelli, Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks, Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac, Kyle Korver of the Milwaukee Bucks and Memphis Grizzlies power forward Anthony Tolliver were joined by NBA players' union executive director Michele Roberts and two other union executives — Sherrie Deans and Matteo Zuretti.
'You're champions,' Pope Francis told the players, as quoted by ESPN. 'But also giving the example of teamwork, you've become a model, giving that good example of teamwork but always remaining humble ... and preserving your own humanity.'
Korver initially thought the invitation to the Vatican was a prank, he told The New York Times.
'I thought it was a fraud email that I got,' Korver said. 'I called [NBPA executive director] Michele [Roberts] right away. I was like, 'Is this for real?' She said, 'Yes, it is and would you like to come in like two days?' This came together really quick.'