Black Lives Matter in the NBA!

By Hashim M.

Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd. Those are just a few names of the people who fell victim to police brutality. While they are resting in peace, their killers are still alive and breathing. Darren Wilson (Trayvon’s killer) and George Zimmerman (Mike’s killer) are still roaming the streets till this day, while Derek Chauvin (George’s killer) sits up in a jail cell. Police have constantly oppressed the African-Americans for years and nothing has been done. Well, I say no more! During the year 2020 the #BLM movement has been stronger than any other time in history after the brutal killing of Minnesota’s George Floyd.

Recently, the NBA has announced the season will return and players will be allowed to wear messages on their shirts to show their support for the movement. But, that stirs up a question: Will the NBA coming back take attention away from the #BLM movement?

Many NBA players have come out to say that they support the #BLM movement, but actions speak louder than words. Players like Patty Mills, LeBron James, etc, are all donating to racial justice charities. It goes to the extent that Patty Mills is even giving Every Cent. Mills said in an interview, “Old white teammates and coaches, haven’t felt comfortable asking me, as a Black Australian, about racism before, which speaks to the impact and value of the Black Lives Matter movement and the millions who have participated in protests around the world”. According to the article, “NBA Player to Donate ‘Every Cent’ of His Salary to Social Justice Issues”, Patty Mills was inspired to take social action on this matter after the tragic death of George Floyd, though Patty Mills has always been a huge supporter of justice for all races. LeBron James has also contributed to the matter. In the article, “How Lebron James a leading voice for social justice in a racially divided nation,” it states, “The Los Angeles Lakers superstar has used his platform to speak out on political and social issues and recently helped form ‘More Than a Vote,’ a group dedicated to mobilizing African American voters and fighting voter suppression. The organization was created in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25, which touched off more than three weeks of global protests for social justice.” LeBron has always been one to go an extra mile and he did just that with helping create this organization. Though LeBron has helped create an organization for the movement, his main competition for the status of ‘GOAT’ aka Micheal Jordan also made contributions to the movement. Michael Jordan plans to donate $10 million a year for the next 10 years toward social justice organizations. The NBA has been a huge help towards the movement and I hope it continues.

Although the NBA has done a great job with helping the movement there have also been players who have been sort of a distraction to the movement and also think that the season returning will get in the way of the movement. One of those players is Kyrie Irving. Though Irving has marched with protestors and has come out and said he supports the movement, some of his fellow peers such as Austin Rivers and Kendrick Perkins have come out and stood against him. Perkins said, “For the last two days, we have been talking about Kyrie Irving. So Kyrie Irving, right now you are the distraction. You are the distractor. You are distracting the whole situation,” Perkins said on ESPN’s, Get Up! Perkins called into question Irving’s leadership after the guard, who serves as vice president of the National Basketball Players Association executive committee, opposed the NBA’s restart plan. “It’s crazy to me because you come out and you do something simply without talking to (NBPA) president Chris Paul or consulting (executive director) Michele Roberts and go off and do something totally different and get a group of guys together and say, ‘Let’s sit out without a plan.’ It makes zero sense and I totally disagree.” Perkins was directing his anger to Kyrie and Avery Bradley making a group to help get more black executives and coaches into the NBA without consulting the NBPA president Chris Paul. Austin Rivers came out and said on Twitter, “The group Kyrie has formed is admirable and inspiring. I’m with it … but not at the cost of the whole NBA and players’ careers. We can do both. We can play and we can help change the way black lives are lived. I think we have to! But canceling and boycotting a return doesn’t do that in my opinion. Guys want to play and provide and help change!!!!” During this pandemic Kyrie has made some questionable actions, but over the last few days Kyrie has made a generous donation. As of late, Kyrie has helped the WNBA by  donating to help promote the WNBA and gender equality in the sport of basketball. The Brooklyn Nets star is committing $1.5 million to players that opted out of the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns or due to wanting to create awareness for social justice.

Though Kyrie is one of my favorite players  and has done a lot to help the cause, I have to disagree with him on this matter. I think the NBA will find a way to incorporate the movement even more than just the messages on the jerseys. Matt Goldsmith, basketball coach of The College of New Jersey agrees with me saying this, “I do think that it will take media focus from the #BLM movement, but at the same time with that focused eye on the NBA it will help the #BLM movement to become more relevant and get more eyes on it. I think if the NBA uses their cards right they will be able to help the the #BLM movement become more popular.” Richard Jefferson, retired NBA player, also agrees with me stating this, “In my opinion all of these players that are using their platform to get the word out and all the players having #BLM on the back of their jerseys will help the movement even more. I think this is an opportunity to continue to make our country better. It is really helping our country to become better for everyone.” So as you can see the NBA can help in more ways than one.

In my opinion, the NBA will be able to help the movement and players shouldn’t be against it. We all have to do our part to make our country better and this is the first step forward. Other leagues should follow in the NBA’s footsteps and find a way to incorporate the movement into their league. This way we can get the word out to more people and hopefully finally get justice.

Student Bio

Hashim M.

2018 Summer Program
2020 Summer Program

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