‘Bigger than basketball’: NBA players demand change as games grind to a halt
MANILA, Philippines—Some things are bigger than basketball.
In an act of protest, six NBA teams decided not to play in their scheduled games in the first round of the playoffs Thursday (Manila time) following the police shooting of African-American man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Players and coaches could not suppress their rage amid. Some took to Twitter to express their disgust and continued their demand for change and end to racial injustices in the US.
“F*** this man!!!! We demand change. Sick of it,” posted James on Twitter upon learning of Blake’s shooting.
FUCK THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 26, 2020
“Spewing this fear, all you hear Donald Trump all of them talking about fear, we’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot, we’re the ones that are denied to live in certain communities, we’ve been hung, we’ve been shot, and all you do is keep hearing about fear,” said Clippers head coach in a virtual press conference that former US President Barack Obama also tweeted.
You don’t need to be black to be outraged, you need to be American and outraged and how dare Republicans talk about fear, we’re the ones that need to be scared. We’re the ones having to talk every single, every black child, my white father has to give his son a talk about being careful if you get pulled over. It’s just ridiculous and it keeps going, there’s no charges, Breonna Taylor no charges. Nothing! All we’re asking is you live up to the Constitution, that’s all we’re asking for everybody for everyone,” added Rivers as he held back tears.
Obama, the United States’ first black president, praised the Bucks for their pioneering decision to boycott their playoff games.
I commend the players on the @Bucks for standing up for what they believe in, coaches like @DocRivers, and the @NBA and @WNBA for setting an example. It’s going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values. pic.twitter.com/rUGETgAt7PADVERTISEMENT
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 27, 2020
“It’s going to take all our constitutions to stand up for our values,” tweeted Obama.
Bill Russell, who won 11 titles with the Boston Celtics and one of the NBA’s earliest civil rights leaders, thanked two-time champion and now analyst Kenny Smith for showing support for the players and walking out of the set of Inside the NBA.
I’m moved by all the @NBA players for standing up for what is right. To my man @TheJetOnTNT I would like to say Thank you for what you did to show your support for the players. I am so proud of you. Keep getting in good trouble. @NBAonTNT @ESPNNBA @espn #NBAPlayoffs ✊🏿
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) August 26, 2020
The NBA teams also stood by their players’ decision not to step on the court.
Other US leagues in WNBA, MLB, and MLS also postponed its games as players across the sports led the decision not to play.
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) August 26, 2020
.@Bucks power. Black power.
Nothing but respect for Milwaukee’s players and coaches. #BlackLivesMatter
— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) August 26, 2020
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) August 26, 2020
We stand in support of those using their platform for change.#BlackLivesMatter
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) August 26, 2020
— Atlanta Dream (@AtlantaDream) August 26, 2020
WE DEMAND CHANGE! SALUTE @Bucks ✊🏾🙏🏾🗣
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) August 26, 2020
We have the strongest, most unified league in the world!!! #change
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) August 26, 2020
— John Wall (@JohnWall) August 26, 2020
According to reports, both the Lakers and Clippers voted to end the season early and that four-time MVP LeBron James called for action from team owners toward social justice reform and left the meeting early.
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