Honoring Black History Month.
Celebrating Black athletes in sports, dance and arts.
When lives and routines came to a halt due to COVID last year, the same was true of our pastimes--including both the sports we play, and those we watch on TV and in stadiums. An unprecedented pandemic coupled with heightened awareness of racist police brutality and the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement underscored just how much the personal is political. With the NBA season set to resume with the league’s “Bubble” format, Black Lives Matter protests reached another crescendo in the wake of the Kenosha, WI police shooting of Jacob Blake in late August. The Milwaukee Bucks refused to play their first playoff game against the Orlando Magic, and this led to a players’ strike across not just the whole NBA but other professional sports leagues.
“We’re all hurt. We’re tired of seeing the same thing over and over again and everybody expecting us to be OK, just because we get paid great money. We’re human. We have real feelings. And I’m glad that we got the chance to get in a room and talk with one another.” -Chris Paul, Suns, via SI.com
“We’ve heard a lot of players talk and whether you agree or not, I think it’s very important we don’t forget about everything that’s going on with the restart of basketball,” -Glenn Robinson III, 76ers, via NBCSports
The 3-day players’ strike led to an agreement to form the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition to ”lead the NBA family’s collective efforts to advance equality and social justice’ (NBA.com). While the 2019-2020 season playoffs took place in the Bubble, players, coaches, and NBA brass met to discuss how to advance racial equality, social justice reform, and voter registration. The strike came at a crucial time that went beyond shows of solidarity by taking a knee during the anthem or messaging on jerseys. A strike allowed the players’ voices to be heard in a league that is predominantly made up of Black players, and allowed them to use their platform to enact change and create engagement to advance equality and reform as a powerful league and not just as high profile individuals.
“What I’m fighting for is bigger than me. What our fight for is bigger than us individually. Our fight for justice, equality, equity and respect will be heard and will be met. Our fight for our lives and freedom will no longer be up for debate” -Sterling Brown, Bucks, via ThePlayersTribune.com