When the NBA season picked up again, I was excited.
Though it continued in a different setting and smaller crowd, it was cool seeing different teams and some of my favorite athletes face off against each other as they presented us with a new normal within the world of sports. One of the first things I noticed in the new setting, also known as “the bubble,” were the words Black Lives Matter displayed on the court. I also recognized that different players had the same words and other social justice messages spread across their t-shirts, jerseys, and sneakers.
It was incredible seeing that kind of solidarity and support across the league and within other sports communities around the world. Something special was happening—and still is. Professional athletes are using their platforms to create change, especially with demanding action, resolutions, and bringing attention and awareness towards social justice. But in this current sports season, there’s been a pause. More specifically, there have been more protests. And sadly, it’s due to the shooting of yet another Black man.
Please remember his name. His life matters. He too is now part of the movement and demand for social justice. Different NBA teams, along with LeBron James at the forefront of this issue, have had enough. So they’ve sent us all a message. For now, different games have been postponed or cancelled, and many athletes don’t feel pressed to play. They’re standing up and speaking out and using their platforms in a powerful way to let the world know that the racial division, oppression, and injustices need to come to an end.
I know I’m tired of seeing and hearing about the tragic narratives of Black men and women being shot and murdered by police officers. And I don’t shy away from writing or speaking about these kinds of issues on the different platforms I’ve been fortunate to have access to. I believe it’s amazing seeing different professional athletes sacrifice doing what they love and risking their names and livelihoods to create necessary change. They’ve taught me that you don’t have to be scared silent. It’s okay to speak up and demand justice. The demand for social justice isn’t about ratings or playoff games or trophies or MVP awards—it’s about something bigger. It’s about acknowledging some of the harsh realities of this world that are not always comfortable addressing and doing what you can to create purposeful and meaningful change.