Danny Green and the Los Angeles Lakers returned to the court on Saturday for a Game 5 against the Portland Trail Blazers that was postponed three days. While focus for the night shifted back to basketball, the bigger focus for players being in Walt Disney World bubble remained a talking point.
When the NBA restart was first announced, some were hesitant to resume playing basketball, as they saw it as a potential distraction from injustices happening in the United States. However, players like Green used it as an opportunity to get their message across and promote real change.
After three days of no games due to boycotts brought about by the shooting of Jacob Blake, Green is happy with the resolutions made.
“Even though we didn’t have an ideal situation of when it happened, for a plan, we needed time to talk as a group,” he said. “Even though we compete every day with each other, we have a lot of pride, we love this game, want to win and look at each other as the enemy sometimes, we are in this together.
“A lot of us have the same communities, grew up in the same type of areas. Playing every other day, we don’t have time to actually communicate. And the fact that we’re competing against each other, we’re kind of in that mode where we’re not communicating with anybody but our team.
“The last couple days have given us a chance and a break to figure some things out, see what we want to do, re-focus, take a breather and figure out what the next plan of action is.”
The break in games gave players a chance to speak uninterrupted with one another, league officials and team owners. It was a drastic change from games previously being on every day, with teams alternating game days.
“Hopefully the schedule will change a little bit, so we have time to discuss and remember why we’re here. The bigger picture wasn’t basketball. It was trying to help make our country better for our people for our communities,” Green said.
Re-focusing why they came to the bubble in the past few days has been the impetus for a number of positive changes. The Milwaukee Bucks helped to expedite an important vote in the state of Wisconsin, while the NBPA has created specific policy for the league to follow moving forward.
Perhaps when the first round ends and only eight teams remain in Orlando — and with families joining as well — teams will have more time to sit and discuss ways they can make change. When the second round begins, there will only be two games on the schedule per day, meaning mornings and afternoons should be a lot more open.
Lakers encountering challenges with practice times
While obviously for a much different reason, this isn’t the first time the Lakers have lodged a complaint about scheduling. L.A. dealt with inconsistent practice times, and looked for ways to push through it.
“The practice times have really been all over the place; 6 p.m. at night, to now 9 a.m. in the morning. It’s different every day and now you don’t have control over it. We’ve had to tinker with what we do based on those practice times,” head coach Frank Vogel recently said.
“But other than that, you do your work. You go to practice, get done with practice and meet with your staff a little bit, you watch the film, evaluate, make notes and see what you’ve got to work on the next day. It’s not too different.”
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