The NBA plans to step off the court and make a measurable impact on social-justice issues throughout the season.
Colin Kaepernick was the athlete who brought social justice to the forefront of the sports community. Although Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul made a stirring speech at the ESPYs around social issues, Kaepernick took it a step further by kneeling during the national anthem. While this spurred conversation and raised awareness for the issues, NBA players have planned to take action over symbolism. Bleacher Report interviewed over a dozen athletes in the past month to dive deeper into the issues.
“I’m past the gestures,” New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony told Bleacher Report. “I’m past that. It’s all about creating things now and putting things in motion. So, that’s what I’m on. I’m trying to get guys on board with that and help them understand that—enough of the gesturing and talking and all of that stuff—we need to start putting things in place.” While Kaepernick laid the groundwork, NBA players have begun to take action, even without much media fanfare.
Adam Silver, Commissioner of the National Basketball Association, said it best in reference to NBA players’ actions. He surmised that these basketball players’ views are, “We’ve moved past that stage already. … We will be judged by the substantive actions we’re taking in our communities.”
The NBA is known as a leader in the social responsibility forefront. It’s a commitment from the top down – both at the league level and at the individual teams. The ownership, league office, and NBA superstars truly buy into the idea that they are leaders in the community and that action can repair relationships in the community and help heal the wounds of community members.
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