After a nearly five-month hiatus from play, regular seeded NBA games returned on July 30th, 2020. Many players were eager to return to the NBA, but others were hesitant about its return. Perennial All-Star point guard, Kyrie Irving, was among some of the players who decided to stay out of the season restart.
“Once we start playing basketball again, the news will turn from systemic racism to who did what in the game last night,” said Irving in an interview with the Insider. “It’s a crucial time for us to be able to play and blend that and impact what’s happening in our communities…We are asking ourselves, ‘Where and how can we make the biggest impact?’ Mental health is part of the discussion too, and how we handle all of that in a bubble.”
While the NBA did take action to fight for racial justice in the bubble by encouraging conversations between players and printing “Black Lives Matter” on the court, many have been left unsatisfied.
Personally, I stand with Kyrie Irving. As much as I love to watch basketball and see the Celtics succeed in the playoffs, this sort of distraction does not sit right with me. With the amount of NBA games crammed into this new schedule, there is hardly a time when an NBA game is not being played. I usually find myself watching those games during my free time, letting it serve as an escape from the real world. And yes, printing “Black Lives Matter” on the court or allowing players to put select messages of support on the back of their jerseys is certainly a start, but it is far from enough.
During a time where everyone needs to focus on the ongoing police brutality and racial inequality, the last thing we need is something to draw our eyes away from the unacceptable. We need time to sit with our discomfort and think, and with the resume of the NBA, that time is stripped away from most. Progress will never occur if we are distracted. Rather, we must pay attention to the issue at hand in order to inspire real change.