Whether or not the NBA should return in the climate America is under right now has been a major point of discussion for some time. In addition to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there continues to be a major fight for social justice for minorities.
Many players spoke about possibly not playing to instead focus on that fight. Los Angeles Lakers teammates Avery Bradley and Dwight Howard were chief among them.
Bradley opted against returning to Orlando due to health concerns for his son, while Howard is with the Lakers at the Walt Disney World bubble. The rest of the team is also on board with the restart and the chance to continue raising awareness, including superstar Anthony Davis.
Davis is someone who never considered not coming back to play for multiple reasons. “No, I haven’t,” Davis said during a recent conference call. “From one standpoint is that I think we can win a championship. But two, I think we’re stronger together.”
The concern among many players was that if they were focused on playing basketball, the message about racism and social justice would get pushed to the background. The league is certainly taking different actions to ensure that doesn’t happen.
“Everyone in Orlando, we’re going to obviously be talking about everything that’s going on from a social injustice standpoint,” Davis noted. “I think the platform of the NBA, at that time we’re going to be the only ones on TV. So I think we’ll be able to have more people in the room from other teams and receive other ideas and figure out how we can change the world, what we can do individually and as a unit to make change.”
As great as it will be for the players and fans to have basketball back, it is extremely important to these players that the bigger message on the fight across this country not get lost. Davis simply believes that players from all teams coming together on one accord can bring about a lot more change than he could individually.
“I think the more people we have, the more minds, the more ideas and thoughts we can come up with to change what’s going on,” he said. For me, it was never a point of not going. Just because I feel like me individually trying to do it is not enough.”
LeBron James similarly focused on basketball, raising social awareness
Like Davis, LeBron James believes the Orlando setting can provide players with a medium to continue raising awareness.
“Being able to use my platform, use the NBA’s platform, to continue to talk about what’s going on, because I will not stop until I see real change for us as Black America, for African-Americans, for people of color,” James said.
“I believe I can do both. I can bring happiness to a lot of homes with the way I play the game and the way the Lakers are going to play the game, and I will continue to push the envelope and keep my foot on the gas on creating real change for us as people of color in America.”
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