The NBA has been in the Orlando bubble for weeks now, but Thursday night was when the restart began in earnest as the seeding round began with a doubleheader on TNT. The Jazz and Pelicans tipped things off, with a Lakers-Clippers tilt serving as the nightcap, and before the games began, Inside The NBA set the table with a 90-minute pregame show that went far beyond the court to discuss the Black Lives Matter movement, the push for racial equality from the league and its players, and ending police brutality and systemic racism.
Prior to the game and prior to the first demonstration from players, TNT ran an intro video narrated by Meek Mill — who is vocal about criminal justice reform after his time in jail for a probation violation sparked a national conversation — speaking from center court in Philadelphia, discussing the need for social justice reform, the pandemic, and much more in a powerful video.
.@MeekMill delivers a powerful message for The Return. 🔥
The NBA restart tips off at 5pm ET on TNT. pic.twitter.com/qiuSVyhYrc
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 30, 2020
The entire handling of the night by TNT was impressive, not only not shying away from the discussion but actively keeping it at the forefront, which is something the players have been consistent in asking for from the league in its restart. After the Meek Mill video, players gathered on the sideline by the benches and all kneeled together above the Black Lives Matter that is printed on the court during the national anthem, issuing a statement of solidarity and protest.