NBA players and their coaches have been looking to influence politics and social movements more than ever in recent years. Many players who have been credited for influencing the evolution of basketball are now looking to influence dialogue off the floor.
December 2014, high profile NBA athletes such as Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and the entire Los Angles Lakers team wore black shirts that read “I Can’t Breathe” across the front. The shirts were a reference to the final words of Eric Garner, an African American man who was choked to death by an arresting police officer. Over the summer, Carmelo Anthony and Michael Jordan joined the conversation on police brutality against African Americans and the targeting of police officers.
LeBron James endorsement of Hillary Clinton during an October campaign rally in Cleveland. James reflected on life growing up in Northeast Ohio, where he was a raised by a single mother. James’ foundation, the LeBron James family foundation has pledged to provide more than 1,100 students with full ride scholarships to college. James cited education as one of the main reasons for his support to Clinton during the election.
Many NBA athletes and coaches have been highly critical of Donald Trump and have taken to both the media and social media to voice their opinions. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr spoke about being disjointedness in society as well as the leader that was just elected. When President Trump proposed his travel ban Kerr also took a stand, reflecting on personal experience with terrorism. Kerr’s father Malcom was assassinated by Islamic Jihadists in January of 1984. Steve Kerr’s voice was one of the loudest against Trump’s proposed travel ban.
With more and more members of the NBA community expressing their opinions on American social and political issues, I talked with two NBA reporters to see how players agency has evolved over the years and what their voices mean today. Michael Singer of USA Today. Singer follows the entirle league as a national reporter . Sam Smith is the author of New York Times Best Seller, the Jordan Rules and has been covering the NBA for over three decades. Before becoming a sports writer, Smith was a political reporter in Washington D.C.
Take a listen and here what they shad to say in my podcast below.