NBA and Black Lives Matter

Updated: Oct 2, 2020

When the idea was first pitched it seemed crazy, but the NBA Bubble has been a tremendous success during the COVID-19 pandemic. With zero positive tests reported since the first game, the Bubble has been the golden standard for the rest of professional sports. However, there have been other problems off the court that have affected the players.



When the first tipoff happened on July 31st, there was a lot going on in America at the time due to the killings of Brenna Taylor and George Floyd and the movement they sparked. There were peaceful protests and marches throughout the country. Unfortunately, rioting and looting also occurred in some cities. 


Unrest translated over to the NBA Bubble. Kyrie Irving, a guard for the Brooklyn Nets, spoke up and said, “I don’t support going to Orlando... I’m not with the systematic racism … something smells a little fishy.” Irving had the support of players  Donavan Mitchell, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul. The players want to see the league and the owners reach out, and help more with the issue of racism. 

When the NBA heard about the players' concerns, in the middle of every court in the NBA Bubble the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER” was painted. The NBA is allowing players to write different civil rights slogans on the backs of their jerseys so that  players can express their commitment to help defeat racism. Every player has a different slogan on the back of their jersey. For instance, Giannis Antetokounmpo, forward for the Milwaukee Bucks, is wearing the word “Freedom,” while Jayson Tatum, forward for the Boston Celtics, is wearing the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” 


When the NBA heard about the players' concerns, in the middle of every court in the NBA Bubble the words “BLACK LIVES MATTER” were painted. The NBA is allowing players to write different civil rights slogans on the backs of their jerseys so that players can express their commitment to help defeat racism. Every player has a different slogan on the back of their jersey. For instance, Giannis Antetokounmpo, forward for the Milwaukee Bucks, is wearing the word “Freedom,” while Jayson Tatum, forward for the Boston Celtics, is wearing the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” 


Additionally, the NBA has lifted the rule stating that all players, coaches, and trainers have to stand and line up for the national anthem. Put into effect in 1981, this is the first time the rule has been set aside. Almost every player was kneeling in solidarity during the national anthem in protest of the racism going on throughout the country. ee Bucks refused to take to the court for their game five matchups of the first round of the playoffs against the Orlando Magic. George Hill, the Milwaukee Bucks guard, gave an official statement saying, “We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable.” 


Additionally, this chain reaction led to two other NBA playoff games to be boycotted and postponed, along with WNBA games, the MLB, and the MLS. League executives and owners all around the sports world took notice and decided to make a change. 


Everything in the Bubble was going smoothly until Aug. 23 when Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times while being arrested in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Jacob survived this shooting but this sent shock waves throughout the entire world. LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers tweeted, “WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT.” On the night of Aug.26, the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take to the court for their game five matchups of the first round of the playoffs against the Orlando Magic. George Hill, the Milwaukee Bucks guard, gave an official statement saying, “We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable.” NBA team owners will come together and contribute $30 million dollars to the fund over the next ten years. 


After the Jacob Blake shooting, players like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard wanted to boycott the rest of the season, but after countless meetings with the league executives and owners, they came to an agreement. The NBA Board of Governors agreed to set up a fund worth $300 million dollars dedicated to the economic empowerment of the Black community. The NBA, with a partnership with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), will contribute to finding jobs, securing employment out of high school or college, and career advancement once employed. Along with the $300 million dollar donation from the NBA Board of Governors, thirty NBA team owners will come together and contribute $30 million dollars to the fund over the next ten years. 


The professional athletes along with the team owners are making a great effort to empower the Black community so that they can contribute to a brighter future. 



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