The NBA will return to play on Saturday afternoon when the Bucks take on the Magic in their Game 5, which was postponed from Wednesday following the Bucks refusal to play in protest of police shooting Jacob Blake seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
What followed was the rest of the league’s players joining the Bucks in refusing to play in protest, and a tense two days of meetings among players and later between players and owners. The result was an eventual decision to return to play this weekend, with the league and NBPA working together on an agreement to create a social justice coalition, turn every team-owned arena into a voting location, and air advertising and PSAs during the playoffs encouraging people to vote and addressing social justice issues.
While there had been some contention around returning to play initially, the resulting plan of action put into place — plus a conversation between some top players like Chris Paul and LeBron James with Barack Obama — led to the agreement among players to come back. On Saturday, Andre Iguodala spoke with CBS This Morning’s Dana Jacobson about the pause in play and the factors that went into their return to action.
Iguodala is among the few that haven’t shied away from the fact that the financial element of continuing to play was a factor in their decision, noting that NBA players continuing to accumulate wealth allows them to invest that further into the Black community. This was also something LeBron James reportedly pushed owners to do more of, as they have exponentially greater wealth and resources that could be put into those communities and create long-standing impacts.
He also notes the importance of the platform, something Draymond Green likewise noted on Friday, and that players needed a refresh as much as anything to take a break and talk about these issues that are impacting their mental health, seeing continued instances of police violence and the oppression of Black people. As games return, the focus will remain on social justice and the issues facing Black Americans outside of the Bubble, and players proved with the pause in play that anytime that is lost, they will bring it back to the forefront.