After three days of games being postponed due to protests by all 13 teams remaining in the Walt Disney World bubble, the NBA and Players Association have come to an agreement to resume the playoffs on Saturday.
It coincided with three commitments by the league and the Board of Governors with regard to social justice reform. The first of which will be a newly-formed social justice coalition.
Represented in this will be players, coaches, and governors. The coalition will focus on bringing access, education, and reform to black communities across the United States.
Secondly, NBA teams that own their arena property will work with local election officials to convert the arena and surrounding areas into voting locations. If establishing a polling place is not possible, teams will provide a location for citizens from vulnerable communities to receive ballots and register to vote.
Finally, the league, players and network partners will work together to create advertisements during the remainder of the NBA Playoffs that make specific calls to action.
“These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said in a joint statement.
“We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together – in Orlando and in all NBA team markets – to push for meaningful and sustainable change.”
While this is hardly a quick fix — as justice rarely happens overnight — it further demonstrates team officials stand with their players. Players using themselves as leverage was perhaps the only way for Governors to make additional commitments.
The Playoffs, moving forward, will likely revolve even more around social justice. Beyond just kneeling and wearing Black Lives Matter pre-game shirts, there will be tons of opportunity for the league to show where they stand on these issues and what exactly it is that they would like to accomplish.
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss stands with team during boycotts
While some NBA Governors have a bad reputation around the league, especially when it comes to the well-being of their players, Lakers controlling owner Buss is a major exception. Buss runs L.A. similarly to her father, where making the players feel safe and welcome is always the top priority.
Buss spoke out following the boycotts, saying that although she was excited to watch the Lakers potentially close out their first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers, some things are more important. She added that she would always stand by her players.