Black Lives Matter is written on the court


Image credit to Wiki Media. Image modified from original.

Everyone is waiting for NBA’s new season. The brand new season is going to begin from “The Bubble”. This is Orlando’s Wide World of Sports Complex. The new season is all about empowering and adding value to Black players. This time, the entire court is decorated with decals that portray the value of Black Lives. To be more precise, there are decals “Black Lives Matter”, around the court. This move is to symbolize the value of both, the black fans and players. 

News about the look was shared in Twitter by Malika Andrews. 

A New Story 

This is not the first time decals with the tag “Black Lives Matter” were installed in the country. Currently, these murals are seen throughout the country. You will find many “such” murals in the rural and urban streets too. For instance, you will find similar murals in Downtown Orlando too, in Rosalind Avenue. The statement might not have a big impact. But, they are active reminders of the unsatisfied and persistent need for Black Lives to be protected. It also signals the need for changes in law enforcement, sports, media and few more places. 

Basketball and Black Lives 

The race equality issue in basketball began much before the death of George Floyd. Players and coaches from the Black community were keen in overturning the intentions of racist politicians. From the beginning, such intentions seem in the open, and in secret. 

For example, some of the initial movements began during the 1950s. 

This was when Walter Brown broke the “famous” color barrier. At that time, only two players from the Black community were allowed to game. With the Brown movement, the number increased to three. 

The Reopening 

Andrew (of the NBA and National Basketball Players Association) released a joint statement in the month of June. This was a part of restarting the sessions in Orlando. And, this time the association is keen in combating issues around racism in a systematic manner. Also, it intends to address the racial inequalities seen around the United States. 

The statement was shared in a meeting, which was organized by Adam Silver, the NBA Commissioner. At the meeting, guards from various teams, Michele Roberts (NBPA Executive Director) and Chris Paul (NBPA President) were present. Of course, many other reputed basketball personnel like Malcolm Brogdon, Trae Young and Donovan Mitchell were present at the occasion. 

Though official statements were made, the level of change still remain undisclosed. Fine tuned details of the plan are not finalized. There are many talks on how to promote the role played by blacks in the game. This involves the inclusion of black vendors and more black owned businesses in the field. Additionally, the meeting was used as a platform for expanding the economic and educational involvement of the Black community, at least in the NBA. 

But, did things go well at all times? Unfortunately, it was never a smooth run for such initiatives. For example, Kelly Lowffler, a reputed Georgian Senator from the Republican Party was unhappy with the Black Movement. A letter was written by Lowffler to the WNBA commissioner. The letter described about her opposition to the movement initiated at Orlando. 

In the letter, Lowffler states that decisions like defunding the police force, destruction of nuclear families and abolishment of the military force should not be encouraged. These are movements that increase the presence of anti-semitism, and even long term violence. These are not qualities represented by our league. Thus, the Black movement around NBA needs to be suspended. In response to the letter, WNBA stated that it would never force Lowffler to sell all her interest and stakes in the team. 

The Other Discussions

The news about murals in NBA courts didn’t stop here. It continued in conversations and television programs.  

A stream of interviews and conversations on this topic started to stream. Draymond Green and Stacey Abrams focused on the need to vote, before coming to a conclusion.  

Why? Mainly because 80 percent of the players are from the Black community. It makes lots of sense for the community to focus on promotions that are more inclined towards the Blacks. As a part of promoting their welfare, HBO started a new series called “Insecure”. 

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