It was a difficult week for the NBA community, as players dealt with the emotions of seeing yet another example of police violence against Black Americans when Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha police. That led to players refusing to play in protest and meeting multiple times to discuss whether to resume play and actions they wanted to see the league and owners take.
On top of that, the basketball world reeled from the loss of legendary Arizona basketball coach Lute Olson, former UConn and NBA star Clifford Robinson, and actor, NBA fan, and friend to many players Chadwick Boseman all in the span of a few days. Players offered remembrances of all of those in recent days on social media, and ahead of the Bucks and Magic playing Game 5 in Orlando, the NBA held a moment of silence for Olson, Robinson, and Boseman prior to the national anthem as players kneeled on the sideline.
The Bucks and Magic share a moment of silence in honor of Cliff Robinson, Lute Olson and Chadwick Boseman. pic.twitter.com/vo8zb8K1zx
— NBA TV (@NBATV) August 29, 2020
The league will hold a moment of silence for Cliff Robinson, Lute Olson and Chadwick Boseman before today’s games. pic.twitter.com/3jSHhkM1xh
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) August 29, 2020
It’s the culmination of what has been a brutal and emotional week — in the midst of a brutal and emotional year. Like so many of us, players are balancing their obligations for work with the constant mental health stressors, that are only amplified by being away from family in the Bubble. Andre Iguodala spoke recently about how the pause in play was an opportunity for players to hit the refresh button and talk about these issues that with each other and get some of that off of their chest, but the league and teams will have to continue finding ways to address players mental health as the playoffs wear on.