Earlier this month, nearly 40 players participated in a Zoom call. Also on the line was Timika Palmer, the mother of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old Black EMT who was fatally shot by Louisville Police inside her home during a no-knock raid on March 13. The conference was moderated by activist Stacey Abrams.
When players asked what they could do to help Palmer and her daughter’s legacy, they were encouraged to continually bring her name up when speaking to the media both before and after games and practices.
One of the athletes on the call was Oklahoma City Thunder star and NBPA President Chris Paul, who said players wanted to be “soldiers” for Taylor’s family while continuing to keep her name trending.
Boston Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown echoed that sentiment.
“Our job at the least is to keep these conversations going. We’re not political elites. We’re not politicians. We’re not educators. But we have influence.”
Brown added that even though NBA players don’t have political power, they have influence and care about the communities that they play in.
Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown reiterated the importance of players getting behind Taylor and her family, saying it isn’t something they can let slip away. According to Fansided’s Behind the Buck Pass, Brown was himself a victim of a wrongful arrest in 2018 after a parking violation in Milwaukee. The Southern Methodist University product was thrown on the ground and tased only to have no charges filed against him.
It is not just players speaking out as NBA coaches are making their voices heard as well. Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said the only way to overcome racial inequality is to face our history head on and talk about it. Head coach of the Indiana Pacers, Nate McMillan, even had his players watch 13, a documentary which explores the 1865 ratification of the 13th Amendment that officially outlawed slavery in the United States.
McMillan argued he was just a coach and was not trying to be an activist or history teacher by airing the film for his team.
“I just want us to be aware, and I wanted our players to be able to speak out.”
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James plans to do away with his yearly ritual of disconnecting from his phone during the playoffs to stay better connected with his family. The move will also allow him to continue speaking out on social justice issues, as he has been doing over the last two months.
“This is a time where we’re being heard,” he said.