Although the Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of preparing for a full-fledged return to the 2019-20 NBA season, players are still dealing with issues bigger than basketball following the death of George Floyd, and subsequent protests and calls for equality.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are among the notable players to use their platform to speak out against racial injustice as protests continue to take place throughout the United States. Lakers head coach Frank Vogel also made sure to take action by joining the committee established by the National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA) to help spur a change with local leadership in NBA cities.
This has clearly become a point of emphasis for the Lakers’ brass since they are well aware of the impact Floyd’s death has had on their players. While staying on task through virtual meetings during the hiatus has come with its own set of challenges, the team made sure to give players a chance to address the situation during a recent Zoom call.
According to Brad Turner of the L.A. Times, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was among those to speak to the team about dealing with social issues:
The Lakers held a Zoom conference on Tuesday with players, coaches and some executives to discuss the ongoing protests and civil unrest in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, according to people who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Former Lakers great Karem Abdul-Jabbar, who never has shied away from speaking about social injustice, was the guest speaker and he was riveting, according to people familiar with the call.
James also used the opportunity to give his thoughts on the struggles of the African-American community:
LeBron James, who has been expressing his views about the problems African Americans face daily in this country, was one of the prominent players to speak Tuesday.
The Lakers were credited for their efforts in ensuring the players’ voices are heard:
“The Lakers did a great job letting their players have a voice,” one person said. “The Lakers understand what’s happening. They have always been about helping their community and that hasn’t stopped even now when the Lakers and others sports teams are needed the most.”
While is still plenty of work to be done both on and off the court, it is encouraging to see that the Lakers have prioritized the mental well-being of their players during these troubling times before attempting to move forward with basketball-related activities.
Unanimity throughout the organization from top-to-bottom is imperative if they hope to truly spark any change in the community.