While the NBA’s bubble season continues to kick off and we get one of our favorite sports back. Meanwhile, NBA players want to remind everyone of one thing: BLACK LIVES MATTER.
“We want to make sure that Daniel Cameron arrests the cops and the officers involved with Breonna Taylor’s death and that’s all I got to say,” said Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris during his media availability on Sunday. “That’s going to be to my answer for every question. For Daniel Cameron to step up and do what’s right and that’s the only message I got for today.”
Before the NBA’s restart, many feared that the message would get lost in the midst of sports returning. Retired NBA player Stephen Jackson implored star players to not report to the Orlando bubble, saying, “Playing basketball is going to do one thing: take all the attention off the task at hand right now and what we fighting for.”
The movement against racial injustice hit home for Jackson, who was a close friend of George Floyd, the man who was killed by ex-cop Derek Chauvin after he knelt on his neck for nearly eight minutes. His death helped ignite the change and protests seen across the country in the last few months.
All-Star Kyrie Irving was also skeptical about the season and was reportedly “willing to give up everything” for social reform. He even hosted a special virtual event to drive attention to Breonna Taylor’s case and amplify the voices of Black Women on the frontlines of the movement.
While Irving’s cohorts agreed with his sentiments, they didn’t look at Orlando as a distraction but rather as a platform to finish the remainder of the season and to shed light on social issues.
And they are doing so daily.
“For us, equality is demand and Black Lives Matter,” said Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown on Sunday. “Breonna Taylor is an example of a black life [who was] taken because of how the system has been laid out. We’re going to protest and feel some way about it. It’s unfortunate, but I think these conversations need to continue to be had.”
“[Breonna Taylor’s] murderers are still free, so nothing was done yet,” Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George added following his scrimmage Wednesday. “We’re going to continue to keep this fight going to use our platform to stand up for those that can’t stand anymore.”
Along with speaking out on the injustices of African-Americans in this country, players will also wear selected statements on the back of their jerseys. Off the court, Los Angeles center Dwight Howard, San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills, and New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holliday are some of the players that have sent money towards the mission.
Howard donated the remainder of his salary to the Breathe Again organization, Mills donated $1 Million to Black Lives Matter Australia, Black Deaths in Custody, and We Got You. Holliday, along with his wife, Lauren, has formed the JLH fund to support Black non-profits and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.