Is the NBA season starting back up or not? This now becomes the question of NBA fans. The league had initially established a plan on exactly how to bring all the players back accordingly and set up sequential events in which the players were supposed to follow as protocol. For the plan to still be able to follow through as thought of, all international players must return to their respective teams by Monday; (Which Monday?) the rest of the players would have to return a week later. Teams start mandatory coronavirus testing on June 23rd. Obligatory individual workouts begin July 1st, and after that, players are set to head to Orlando Florida for training camp as early as July 7th. Next, all contending teams are to begin playing games on July 30th when the 22-team plan will take place.
This is the mindset of the NBA. Yet, the players, on the other hand, have different ideas and for good reason. Some of the league’s players believe that the revival of the NBA season would take the spotlight away from a bigger focal point in the world right now, the Black Lives Matter movement. Players feel the need to help with the BLM movement, along with the efforts to exterminate racial inequality and continue to shine a light on the social injustices with the recurring cycle of police officers killing blacks. With this being the attitude of some NBA players, they don’t deem the need of going to the NBA’s Walt Disney World Campus in Orlando to be appropriate, so now the jump-start to the season is put into question.
Most players are still in favor of the season restarting. However, if the players that are hesitant are not willing to follow the guidelines laid out, then consequently they will not receive payment for the extent of the season. The subject of money is not a concern for players such as Portland Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard who thinks that “as the NBA prepares to resume a season halted since March 11th, the biggest issue giving players pause is the possibility that a return could be a distraction from the wave of social change triggered by the ongoing protests against police brutality and systemic racism.” Brooklyn Nets all-star Kyrie Irving brought up this idea in a zoom call that was filled with up to 80 players and the NBA players’ union president Chris Paul with Irving saying “I don’t support going to Orlando. I’m not with the systematic racism and the bulls*** . Something smells a little fishy.”
I feel as though the restart in Orlando will do nothing but good for the cause (BLM). I say this because the players that don’t wish to come back due to the movement, whenever they do start playing uniform basketball again, players that support the Black Lives Matter wave, can then have the opportunity to do so on national television, instead of just social media. Also, with the revenue that the players and league would make off the reboot of the season, they could then use to pour into their communities with all NBA teams supporting the cause, thus expanding the movement’s power as a whole.
Austin Rivers would agree with me as he said something similar responding to Irving’s comments saying “Us coming back would be putting money in all our (NBA players) pockets. With this money, you could help out even more people and to give more importantly your time and energy toward the BLM movement.”
In my opinion, players shouldn’t limit themselves to one option whether to play basketball or support the BLM movement when they can do both and improve the movement, and get paid.