While the NBA restart at Walt Disney World is right around the corner, it should not take away from the current social justice reform and protests that have been happening since the death of George Floyd.
Several players banded together to form coalition that was instrumental in working with the league on how the two can raise more awareness and spur action to combat specific issues facing the Black Community.
So far, the NBA has allowed players to wear a special message on the back of their jerseys when games officially begin. Los Angeles Lakers guard Dion Waiters has opted to wear “Black Lives Matter” on the back of his.
“Everything that’s going on, I feel like it’s a key moment in life right now for us to make a huge impact on and off the court,” Waiters explained. “Just letting everybody know what’s at hand and how big it is. Just because basketball is back, you can’t forget about the most important thing that went on this year.”
Alex Caruso also chose to wear “Black Lives Matter” on his jersey, a sign that the Lakers are taking the current situation seriously and understand their ability to affect and push that message out.
The season’s return is something to rejoice about, but it is also important to remember that there are things bigger than basketball.
Waiters discusses playing basketball again, preparation for opportunity.
Waiters has yet to suit up for the Lakers as he joined the team right before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The shooting guard was considered to be a depth piece for Los Angeles, but Avery Bradley’s opt out of Orlando and Rajon Rondo’s injury will push him into more minutes immediately. However, Waiters seemed unconcerned about the pressure.
“I’ve been here before. I’ve been in this position plenty of times. I think I’m ready,” he said. “Just continue to keep working and get familiar with the sets and things like that. At the end of the day, it’s still basketball, and I’ve been doing that my whole life. Just staying ready for when my number is called, and going out there to try and impact the game.”
While his timing signing with the team was unfortunate, Waiters was still able to take something positive out of it.
“It was a gift and a curse. At that same time, I was like a game away from coming back, but that gave my a chance to go back and work on my body and be around my family,” he said. “I tried to take full advantage of it on and off the court.
“Just working out, constantly in the gym, bike rides, trying to be creative. We were off for four months, so I tried to do a lot of different things. I’ve got a gym in my garage, so it was cool for me. I got a chance to work out with my kids there. It was solid.”
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