Kareem Abdul-Jabbar defends protests
The NBA is planning on painting “Black Lives Matter” on courts when the season restarts in late July, ESPN reported Monday. The league and the players’ union, the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), reportedly agreed on highlighting the movement at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
The death of George Floyd has pushed Black Lives Matter to the forefront, inspiring protests that included some current players. As NBA leadership and its players were in discussions to return playing, some stars brought up the possibility of not playing to retain the focus on social justice issues. Now, according to the report, the NBA will use the hardwood to keep the spotlight on the movement.”Black Lives Matter” would be painted on the court inside both sidelines in all three arenas, ESPN reported. The WNBA is also in discussions to do the same when they begin their shortened season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The report also said some WNBA players are considering wearing warm-up shirts with “Say Her Name” to draw attention to female victims of police brutality, including Breonna Taylor. She was killed in her home in Louisville, Kentucky by officers conducting a drug investigation in March while she was sleeping. In addition, the NBA and the players’ union are working together on uniforms with personalized social justice messages on the back of the players’ jerseys, rather than their last names, according to ESPN. CBS News reached out to the NBA, NBPA and WNBA for comment, but did not immediately hear back. The news comes days after the NBA announced that it has finalized a plan for restarting the 2019-2020 season, which was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league also released a complete game schedule for the remaining matchups. The season will resume on July 30, with what the league described in a press release as “stringent health and safety protocols.”CBS News’ Victoria Albert contributed to this report.