Bursting the Bubble

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“NBA Championship Trophy” by afagen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Isaiah Adeleke, Opinion Editor

On Aug. 23, an African-American man named Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police officer after he just finished breaking up a fight. This event took place in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

The Milawukee Bucks, a team based in Wisconsin, protested their game against the Orlando Magic on Aug. 26 right before the game started. The Magic supported their decision and also did not play the game.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers were also scheduled to play a game later that night and they too did not play. Lastly, the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder were scheduled to play, and they also protested.

The NBA season was suspended from Aug. 26 to Aug. 28, and there were meetings everyday on what to do regarding the situation. In a matter of days the NBA became the sports league of protest.

You may be asking what change a few NBA players not playing basketball players playing for a few days will do? Well actually, it did a lot more than what some people were expecting. 

Many people believe that athletes should not talk about politics and just want politics out of sports completely. Many people have told NBA players to, “shut up and dribble,” Meaning their voices do not matter and they should just play basketball.

However these athletes know their voices matter, and that caused much change within this three-day protest. 

On Aug. 26, the day the first games were suspended, the Milawukee Bucks called the governor of Wisconsin and talked. By the end of this phone call it led to a dormant police-reform bill in Wisconsin getting a voting session scheduled. 

By the end of this boycott, every NBA arena will now be used as a voting center. This is very big news because if African-Americans voted who made the laws, who gives out sentences in the court of law, things could be a lot different. I expect voting to rise this year due to this simple addition. 

Not only that, but every single time there is a commercial, and I mean every single time, it encourages everyone to go out there and vote. I like this message a lot because if we were able to have access to easier voting we could control the police department, who our judges and chiefs are and mayors and governors.

The NBA is by far the most progressive league with the most progessive commissioner, soon after the NBA suspended the season the MLB and WNBA soon followed them and that sparked their own changes.

The NBA has done multiple things to spread the message of Racial injustice issues and raising awareness.

A simple example of that is having messages on the back of their jerseys such as, “BLACK LIVES MATTER, EQUALITY, SAY HER NAME”, and other social justice messages.

They also have Black Lives Matter on the side of every court and each NBA coach has a shirt with a pin that says “Coaches against Racial Injustice.” Heck, even the referees were out marching and protesting by themselves when the season was postponed.

We’ve seen something like this before in 1961 when Bill Russell refused to play a game after him and two of his black teammates were denied access into a hotel. By the end of seven players skipped the game and Russell never had problems with getting into another hotel.

Protesting is one of the easiest ways to spark a change as we can see from examples in 1961 to now. The NBA is really good at handling Racial Injustice Situations even back in 2014 where players wore “I Can’t Breathe shirts” in support of Eric Garner.

Handling these situations is nothing new for the NBA and they will continue to handle it well and other leagues will soon follow their footsteps. With every league becoming more and more diverse every single year, all leagues will have to handle these types of situations well, or their majority of their players or and consumers will not be happy.