Critics have been lambasting the league for risking coronavirus transmission, consuming resources that could be put to better use, and the league's connections with China.
It was only expected that yesterday's games would be a topic of heated debate due to the players kneeling for the national anthem.
New Orleans Pelicans' sharpshooter JJ Redick responded to President Trump's statements against the NBA, saying:
"First of all, I don’t think anybody in the NBA cares if President Trump watches basketball. I couldn’t care less. As far as his base, I think regardless of the specificity of tweeting about the NBA, every tweet of his is meant to divide, every tweet is meant to incite, every tweet is meant to embolden his base. So [last week] was no different"
The President of the United States tweeted out against kneeling during the national anthem last week.
President Trump has long been unwavering in his opposition to kneeling during the national anthem, which he ardently believes is disrespectful of the country and the national flag.
The NBA has taken many steps to make sure that social justice remained at the forefront even as the season restarts. The courts in the NBA bubble have 'Black Lives Matter' painted on the floor.
Players have been allowed to choose from several social justice messages to be displayed on the backs of their jerseys instead of their names.
NBA players kneel during national anthem as the season restarts
Yesterday, before the beginning of both games, players knelt during the national anthem, a move that has been expected from all players. All team members of the Pelicans, the Lakers, the Clippers and the Jazz knelt during the national anthem in solidarity with the black community against police brutality.
While kneeling during the national anthem is against the NBA rules, commissioner Adam Silver says that the league will not enforce this rule in light of the current social climate of the country:
“I respect our teams’ unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem.”
"I hope we made Kap proud" - LeBron James after kneeling during the national anthem
LeBron James, and the rest of the LA Lakers and LA Clippers squads, joined hands and knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality. When asked about kneeling like Colin Kaepernick did, he had this to say:
“I hope we made Kap proud. I hope we continue to make Kap proud every single day. I hope I make him proud in how I live my life, not only on the basketball floor but off the floor. I’ve been one to always speak out about things that I feel like is unjust. If I’m uneducated on things, I always go about it that way.”
The form of protest by kneeling during the national anthem was introduced by NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who later faced severe backlash for his actions which ended up putting a stop to his career.
Published 31 Jul 2020, 22:44 IST