Report: Barack Obama Advised A LeBron James-Led Group Of NBA Players About Their Work Stoppage

The NBA’s postseason will apparently get back on track this weekend after labor unrest following another police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wisconsin earlier in the week. Saturday’s proposed resumption of the NBA playoffs comes after a series of meetings with players, coaches and the NBA’s Board of Governors to determine steps to take regarding racial unrest and systemic injustice and how the league and its players can use their stance to create change.

And one of the league’s most prominent fans apparently also played a role in resolving the situation. As The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Friday, former president Barack Obama was contacted by LeBron James and a group of players that sought his advice on how best to handle the situation.

Former President Barack Obama spoke to James, National Basketball Players Association president Chris Paul and a small group of players late Wednesday evening, advising them to play and utilize the opportunity to contextualize action they want in order to play, The Athletic has learned.

James, Paul and others wanted to seek the guidance of the 44th President of the United States (2009-2017), and on the call broached forming a committee for player action that they want Obama involved in, sources told The Athletic.

Given the unprecedented nature of the situation that unfolded in the Orlando Bubble, it certainly makes sense that Obama was contacted. According to the report, Obama was contacted by James after a strained meeting on Wednesday night in which the LA Lakers and Clippers ultimately decided they were on the side of stopping play in the Bubble altogether.

That stance was reversed on Thursday, as the parties involved came together to work toward an agreement to resume playing with social justice initiates agreed upon. It’s unclear from the report just what Obama said or what role he played in determining the outcome here, but it’s another key detail to the situation that appears to be at a more productive and fruitful point than it was just a few days ago.