Los Angeles, July 31
NBA groups bowed their heads and knelt in the course of the taking part in of the US nationwide anthem whereas carrying Black Lives Matter T-shirts final evening because the league returned for the primary time for the reason that Covid pandemic halted play in March with two thrilling video games.
Coaches and recreation officers joined gamers from the Utah Jazz, New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers in taking a knee to protest towards racial injustice and police brutality within the first video games in 140 days.
We’re coping with a whole lot of racism, a whole lot of social injustice and a whole lot of police brutality, not solely in my neighbourhood and never solely with Black individuals, however with all individuals of color. —LeBron James, On want for sustained efforts
‘Black Lives Matter’ was additionally written on the courts on the Walt Disney World Resort close to Orlando, the place the NBA plans to complete its season with 22 groups inside a bio-secure bubble. “The game of basketball has always been bigger than just the ball, the rim, 10 guys on the floor and referees,” LeBron James mentioned after hitting the game-winning shot in his group’s 103-101 win over the Clippers.
He mentioned that whereas there was progress within the battle towards systemic racism, the important thing was to take care of the momentum.
Some gamers had messages like “Equality”, “Education Reform” and “Say Their Names” on the backs of their jerseys instead of their names. Athletes from around the globe have united behind anti-racism protests sparked by the dying of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
In the primary recreation, the Jazz got here from behind to defeat the Pelicans 106-104 after the Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram’s three-pointer on the buzzer rimmed out. The video games are being performed with out followers, however “virtual fans” appeared on LED screens wrapped across the courtroom and a simulation of a crowd’s cheers and jeers could possibly be heard. — Reuters