KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The NBA and National Basketball Players Association have agreed to establish a social justice coalition and plan to convert team arenas or practice facilities into voting locations for the general election as part of the agreement.
TV networks will include advertising spots during all playoff games to encourage people to vote in national and local elections in the NBA and NBPA’s effort to raise awareness of voter access and opportunity.
“Those commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community,” a joint NBA and NBPA joint statement read.
“We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together — in Orlando and in all NBA team markets — to push a meaningful and sustainable change.”
The league places a heavy emphasis on voting. The statement comes two days after it was revealed that only 20% of the players on the 13 teams still inside the bubble are registered to vote.
On Friday, around 200 employees from the NBA offices in New York and New Jersey took a one-day strike. They protested in solidarity with NBA and WNBA players pushing for social justice.
“Fifteen years in the league and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Chris Paul, NBPA president and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard, said of the way the league came together for a common goal. The players, he said, are “tired of seeing the same thing over and over.”
This comes after the NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball, and Major League Soccer seasons were interrupted Wednesday, as players boycotted games to protest racial injustice and the shooting Sunday of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wis., 40 miles south of Milwaukee.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver sent a letter to NBA employees that addressed the issues that led to the players’ boycotting Wednesday’s games in the aftermath of the Blake shooting.
Initially, the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers didn’t want to resume the postseason.
In a Thursday morning meeting, the players agreed it was best to remain in the NBA bubble as a way to use their platforms to fight racism. They’re looking for better ways to make statements against social injustice.
The NBA and the players association postponed Wednesday’s three playoff games in the bubble after the Milwaukee Bucks made it clear they would not play Game 5 of their opening-round series against the Orlando Magic in protest of the Blake shooting. Games were also postponed Thursday and Friday.