After the 2019-2020 NBA season was halted on March 11 due to COVID-19, it has been announced that it will finally get underway once again from July 30. While fans appear to be excited about the hotly-anticipated return, some of the top players of the NBA are not quite comfortable returning to play, and it has nothing to do with health concerns. Instead, it is feared it may be a “distraction” from the Black Lives Matter movement.
On Sunday, Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley said on Twitter the decision weighs on LeBron James as to whether the rest of players will return. With James’ major influence in the league, the statement isn’t at all surprising.
“Hoopers say what y’all want. If @KingJames said he hooping. We all hooping. Not Personal only BUSINESS,” Beverley tweeted.
— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) June 14, 2020
The comment comes after and is in response to Kyrie Irving who called for players to boycott the season to ensure they don’t distract from the protests and progress that is being made from the Black Lives Matter movement. According to The Athletic, Irving said, “I don’t support going into Orlando. I’m not with the systematic racism and the bullshit. … Something smells a little fishy. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are targeted as black men every day we wake up.” Irving added that he would give up everything for social reform.
Dwight Howard, a teammate of LeBron James, supported Kyrie Irving’s call. “I agree with Kyrie (Irving). Basketball, or entertainment period, isn’t needed at this moment, and will only be a distraction,” Howard said in a statement to CNN. “Sure it might not distract us the players, but we have resources at hand majority of our community don’t have.”
Dwight Howard statement, provided by his agent, to CNN: pic.twitter.com/sk9uSSHlpp
— Jill Martin (@ByJillMartin) June 14, 2020
LeBron James hasn’t directly mentioned whether he will return on July 30 but continues to be a strong advocate on social media for the BLM Movement.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 16, 2020
Stay tuned for further developments.