The NBA cleared one more major hurdle towards officially returning last week when the league and the players finalized an agreement on returning to play in July. No more negotiating — the plan is ready to go:
The National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association announced today that they have finalized a comprehensive plan for a July 30 restart to the 2019-20 season, which includes stringent health and safety protocols, a single-site campus at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and the goal of taking collective action to combat systemic racism and promote social justice.
Of note in that press release is the final phrase, that the goal of the restart is “taking collective action to combat systemic racism and promote social justice”. Much of the concern regarding the NBA restart has been that it would detract from social movements, so the league has attempted to make elements of Black Lives Matter part of its platform. Adam Silver spoke to the media after the announcement and said that the league was committed to strengthening its connection with Black communities while also improving black representation within the league.
One further step the league is taking to recognize the importance of this political movement is reportedly allowing players to replace the names on their jerseys with personalized social justice messages. Chris Paul, who is the president of the Players Association, said that players will be given suggestions for issues and causes to support, but they are not required to take part. Paul believes that this will prevent basketball from overshadowing the protests occurring nationwide:
“We’re just trying to continue to shed light on the different social justice issues that guys around our league continue to talk about day in and day out,” Paul told The Undefeated. “People are saying that social justice will be off of everybody’s mind in Orlando. With these jerseys, it doesn’t go away.”
Lou Williams, who has not yet confirmed his participation in the remainder of the season because of these social issues, suggested recently that players should have Black Lives Matter on their jerseys, either written out or on a patch. The league has seemingly acquiesced to his specific request. Whether that is enough to sway Williams is another question, but it shows that the NBA leadership is at least listening.
What would you like to see the players write on their jerseys in Orlando?
On to the links...
- Steve Ballmer spoke with Andy Serwer of Yahoo Finance about the NBA’s return. He said he has spoken with the players and respects and honors their individual decisions about playing. He also had this to say about the issues of racial injustice:
“The league and the NBA Players Association are also in discussions about how to elevate those to focus on those, and not take our players away from the voices they can have, but to allow them to have maybe even more voice through restarting the season.”
- It’s been three years since the Clippers acquired Williams, Patrick Beverley, and Montrezl Harrell from the Houston Rockets in the Chris Paul trade, and the “Paul Haul” is now the heart and soul of this Clippers team.
- The NBA released its schedule for the seeding games in Orlando.
- Kevin Pelton crunched the numbers for some odds on how far the Clippers will advance in the postseason.
- Former Clipper Wilson Chandler will be opting out of the restart.