NBA athletes display their activism during Black History Month

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You only have to turn on the TV to realize it’s Black History Month this February, and as for the NBA, the most common act has been watching all players use their “Built by Black History” warm-up shirts before each contest.

This trend started back in 2021, especially around the time George Floyd’s death story blew up and stirred into a racial crisis in the United States, besides the fact that it was during the height of COVID-19 in 2020. Ever since, players have become more and more explicit about their political and social views on these type of issues.

This led up to the creation of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition in the months that followed, an association formed by the league, its coaches and players. The group’s top issues include criminal and policing justice and voting rights, and has been guided especially by NBA All-Stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Donovan Mitchell.

One of their first actions was to prohibit the NBA from scheduling any matches during Election Day, as a way to support the importance of democracy and encourage voting.

For the NBA, one of the best forms to help the Black History Month is with education, and communicating in a way that aids a better understanding of the impact of afrodescendants in United States culture and of course, sports.

Another way is to support Black-owned business, as the league has continually expressed in their social media. For example, check out their latest add:

Many NBA players have been outspoken about what Black History Month means to them.

The league’s all-time greatest scorer, LeBron James has never been shy about it. “Unity and love. That’s the best message you can give throughout Black History Month,” the Lakers star said recently after a game.

However, for one of the best NBA players of all time, it doesn’t stop there. “Also remembering the ones who laid the groundwork and the path to be here today, and to be able to celebrate them on a day-to-day basis,” he recognized. “There are a lot of Black athletes I grew up admiring: Michael Jordan, Ken Griffey Jr, Penny Hardaway, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, Oscar Robertson, Mike Tyson, Jim Brown, and Michael Johnson to name a few.”

The press has also laid a great hand to the cause, making sure this content gets across the entire sport fan base. Bleacher Report, for example, made sure we never forget what colour skin most of the world’s greatest athletes have. “Those 81 points (in respect to Kobe’s famous performance), that 9.58 (referring to Usain Bolt’s Olympic record) and those 23 Grand Slams (taking about Serena and Venus William’s trophies), is our alchemy,” the video narrates.

Take a look at the full video in the link below:

The racial controversy lives on in the U.S.

Nevertheless, players being straightfoward about their activism hasn’t always been seen with good eyes. Talk show host Laura Ingraham has always taken the controversial road as to point out that sport stars should keep their opinions about politics to themselves, and stick to what they know best.

In 2018, she especifically called out Kevin Durant and James telling them to “shut up and dribble”.”It’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball,” the Fox News broadcaster said. “Keep the political comments to yourselves.”

King James kept his thoughts to himself until Ingraham made a statement live on TV, expressing that quarterback Drew Brees was right to imply that people who protested against Floyd’s death were “disrespecting the flag.”