While deprived basketball fans were tuned in on ESPN this evening to eagerly watch the NBA’s schedule release special, they were met with a harrowing yet hopeful message straight from the league.
“The truth is racism is everywhere,” NBA’s new 60-second spot starts off with, displaying a montage of clips, photographs and newsreels from the past few tumultuous weeks in the country in the wake of the recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks and subsequent protests.
“The truth is silence is not an option,” the spot continues, showing an image of a white woman at one of the hundreds of demonstrations worldwide in support of #BlackLivesMatter, holding a sign that reads, “White silence is Black death.”
As the words “The truth is we need to do better and be better. We will push for equality, we will push for change. Because the truth is Black lives matter,” flash intermittently across the screen, footage of familiar faces from the league protesting for racial justice make cameos. This includes Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban, Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson, Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, Houston Rocket’s Russell Westbrook, Portland Trail Blazer’s Damian Lillard, among others.
The premiere of the advert tonight at 7:40 p.m. ET on ESPN followed an announcement made by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association on Wednesday regarding the league’s goal of using the season restart in Orlando, Fla., as a launching point for promoting social justice and combatting systemic racism.
“Conversations also covered strategies to increase Black representation across the NBA and its teams, ensure greater inclusion of Black-owned and operated businesses across NBA business activities and form an NBA foundation to expand educational and economic development opportunities across the Black community,” the statement noted.
“As a union of NBA players and as a league, it is our job to use our collective platform to both put a spotlight on those issues and work to effect change,” said NBPA President Chris Paul in the statement. “As players, we have taken a leadership role when it comes to using our voices and implementing practical solutions, but there is much work ahead both in Orlando and long-term to continue the momentum and bring about real, long-lasting change to our society.”
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