NBA Players advocate for social justice
Kierrla Yates, Staff Writer
The National Basketball Association (NBA) actively participates in caring for their community. Whether it is a singular individual or a whole team, you will often find the NBA and their players trying to help others. This year, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, teams and players donated time, money, and food to help those struggling. By using their platform to spread awareness, many players have shared their strong beliefs about helping those in need or helping those whose voices cannot be heard. After the death of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, and many others, several players and teams in the NBA used their platforms to shed a light on social injustices.
In the early stages of the protesting this year, many of the social justice messages were seen by individual players. But very quickly, whole teams began to take a stand for the racial injustices happening across the nation. Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers supported the movement by wearing Black Lives Matter logos on their warm-ups and jerseys to draw attention to the movement. On top of this, all of the teams that participated in the NBA following the restart in Orlando, provided the opportunity for players to place social justice messages on the backs of their uniforms. One of the biggest forms of protest occurred in August. There was an act of police violence against a Black person in Kenosha,Wisconsin and as a result, the Milwaukee Bucks players refused to go on court for game five in their first-round series against the Orlando Magic. This was an important game because it carried high stakes for taking first seed in the Eastern Conference. However, the Bucks deemed social injustice more important and showed great support for those who are struggling with racial violence.
Towards the end of August, after many other teams and players joined in protest, the NBA released a statement that said, “The NBA and its players have agreed to immediately establish a social justice coalition, with representatives from players, coaches, and governors, that will be focused on a broad range of issue, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.”
This coalition and statement are a huge step for helping in reform. As a result, many teams and their stadiums have decided to work with election officials to open stadiums as voting locations. This will enable hundreds if not thousands of more people access to voting. In each NBA playoff game, the network coordinators and the NBA worked together to spread messages about civic engagement and voting opportunities.
Now that the coalition has begun, much support will be done off the court. The movement needed the on the court attention to bring about a committee like the social justice coalition. Now, the players and teams have a new means of inciting change and directly helping those in need. The NBA has dedicated players, coaches, and officials, all of which are dedicated to the sport of basketball, but they are also dedicated to their communities, fans, and the entirety of the nation.