While the NBA is ready to return to play its 2019-2020 season next month, new rumors state that some players want to cancel the season altogether. Former player Matt Barnes gave an interview with Josiah Johnson of Dunk Bait that was later put on Twitter. During that interview, Barnes said both he and rapper Snoop Dogg have been told by numerous players that they don’t like the idea of playing the season while racial injustices — both in the sport and outside of it — are going unaddressed.
Barnes said specifically that a couple of players from both the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers have been the most vocal about canceling the season. Marty Fenn of Clutch Points pointed out that its notable that Lakers and Clippers players are the ones reportedly making waves about reconvening the season.
The two teams are the best squads in the Western Conference. If and when the season restarts, both have very good shots at winning the NBA title. Fenn added that there are things more important than basketball, and several players around the league seem to agree with that sentiment.
Protests surrounding the death of George Floyd have taken place all over the country. Current and former NBA players have been spotted participating in several of those protests.
Fenn also pointed out that the league’s player population is 82 percent people of color. That’s the highest percentage of any of the major sports in the United States.
The analyst also acknowledged that what Barnes said could refer to a small segment of players, assuming he’s telling the truth. As of now, no players have come out to back up the former player’s claims. Fenn pointed to recent comments on social media from one of the leaders of the league, Lebron James. The superstar has been vocal about his support for the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests. Meanwhile, his social media posts about the NBA season have been focused on getting his teammates revved up for the return of the season in July.
While Barnes said some players from the Clippers and Lakers talked to him about not wanting to play, even he wouldn’t say just how many had sought him out with their concerns. Fenn believes that if it’s a small group of players, they’ll likely be overruled by the majority.
The NBA announced it would resume play earlier this week with a 22-team format. Those teams will play an eight-game regular season in order to determine playoff seeding. The season is set to resume on July 31 and the NBA Finals are scheduled to take place no later than October 12.