NBA stars around the country have been taking initiative in recent weeks and adding their voice, their influence, and their money to the Black Lives Matter movement and the demand for equal justice and police reform. The protests have gained so much traction that it’s raised serious concerns about whether resuming the NBA season in Orlando could distract from the movement.
DeMar DeRozan, along with Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Lamar, and many others, have helped lead protests in Compton recently, just a few of many examples of athletes, musicians, and celebrities joining the cause in high-profile ways. DeRozan took time out on Friday to speak with Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report about his experience as a Black man in America and much more.
During one segment, DeRozan talks about an experience he had in ninth grade of going to play a basketball game at a predominately white school and the culture shock he felt at just how different everything was from where he lived and where he was raised.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 19, 2020
“I saw for the first time how different their schools were, facilities, just everything about that culture, was like night and day from us,” DeRozan said. “From then on, it used to make me question, like, damn, why is their stuff better, why do they have this better, why they talk better, why they dress better? So many questions came about, and as I continued to get older, I seen the separation from privilege to where we came from.”
It’s a wide-ranging interview that’s well worth the listen, covering several topics relevant to the current social conversation, including how he learned to fear the police, the “intense” Zoom calls about the restart in Orlando, and how Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has been a fearless leader for social justice and set the tenor for his players and other coaches around the league.