NBA Players strike amidst Black Lives Matter protests 


Elena Conyers-Gains, Features Writer

Playing without the deafening cheers of crowds was something NBAplayers had grown accustomedto in the isolation of thebubble,butonWednesday, August26,it was their time to return the silence.  

When the MilwaukeeBucksreleased a statement that they would not take the court just before their first-round playoff game against the Orlando Magic, itmarked the start of a historicstrike.This came after the shooting of Jacob Blake at the hands of the police in Kenosha,Wisconsin.   

 Their refusal to play this game served as a call for action heard across the sports world.  

In the following days, NBA employers and players alike, caused a workplace stoppage thatwould not only raise awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement, butwould encourage significantchangebythreateningto bring the organization to a halt.  

Taking similar strokes of action, tennis player Naomi Osaka, forfeited her semifinal match in the Western & Southern Openvoluntarilythe day after theinitial strike. Shortly after, many organizations, including the MLS, NHL, NFL, MLB, and WNBA, were also showcasing their support. Though none were quite to the extent of the NBA. 

After other teams had since resumed play, the NBA strikes continued until NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, released astatementon twittersaying,“I wholeheartedly support NBA and WNBA players and their commitment to shining a light on important issues of social justice,”. Healso made a commitment to increase access to voting through NBA stadiums, to promote civic engagement, and to advocate for police and criminal justice reform. 

MarkGudgel, Humanities teacher at North High School and avid basketball fan,admires the NBA’s progressiveness for taking a vocal stand and using their platform on social justice issues.  

“They – we – are right: things need to change, and they need to change right now. Patience is the enemy of progress, and ‘How many more’ written across the back of NBA jerseys reminds us now is the time,”hesaid. 

Gudgelbelieves thatthe attention the player strikes are bringing to the BLM movement is valuable,butthe movement simply continues with the NBA’ssupport. 

 “BLM is bigger than the NBA, and I think the NBA knows this,”Gudgel said.