Doc Rivers was among the key participants who made crafting racial harmony a talking point inside the NBA bubble in Kissimmee, Fla., during the summer.
At that time, a lot of those discussions were fueled by the presidential election.
The NBA and National Basketball Players Associations converted team arenas into voting locations for the Nov. 3 general elections. In addition, they established a social justice coalition, and Rivers, the 76ers’ new coach, is a member o it.
“We got to hold people accountable for some of the promises that were made,” Rivers said. ‘It takes a community to get things done.”
Rivers was coaching the Los Angeles Clippers when he spoke at a players and coaches meeting on Aug. 23. The meeting came after the Milwaukee Bucks players set off a professional sports chain reaction by sitting out that day’s playoff game against the Magic to protest racial injustice and the Aug. 20 shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wis.
That led the WNBA, Major League Baseball, the NHL, and Major League Soccer to join the NBA as its players sat out games, too. The NBA returned to action Aug. 26. The league resumed play only after two days of intense meetings, some soul searching, and commitments from league owners to do more.
Joe Biden was elected the 46th president of the United States and promised to restore political normalcy and national unity in addition to battling health and economic crises.
“So just because in some cases the election went our way, we can’t forget that  million voted the other side, as well,” Rivers said. “So we have a country that is extremely divided, and that’s not OK.
“We got to try to unify this country, and still get some of the social things done that are the most important things.”
Rivers doesn’t use the words social justice, he uses human rights. He said there are some things that just shouldn’t happen because of the color of your skin. Rivers believes that’s a human rights issue. That’s why he thinks that players have to stay engaged.
“We can’t be, as I told a couple of our players today, Milli Vanilli,” he said of the former pop duo who were caught in a lip-syncing scandal. “We can’t be one-hit wonders that aren’t true.