Former president Barack Obama wants the new NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, to know how proud he is of their accomplishments on the court and in the arena of social justice.
The NBA championship trophy has returned to the Los Angeles Lakers after a season marked by tragedy, after the death of legendary Kobe Bryant in January.
Obama, one of America’s best known basketball fans, took to twitter to congratulate the Lakers, led by MVP LeBron James along with star center Anthony Davis on their victory (Oct. 11) as well as their social justice comments. In addition, he congratulated the Seattle Storm, who claimed their fourth WNBA title, led by Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart on Oct. 6.
Both teams have made efforts to create awareness for social justice causes, particularly after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many other Black people who have died or have been harmed at the hands of police.
The coronavirus pandemic postponed the NBA season, as it did with all pro sports leagues, in March. When the league returned—opening up in a bubble in Orlando—those police killings were fresh in the minds of many NBA players, most of whom are Black.
RELATED: NBA To Have Black Lives Matter Mural Painted On Courts In Orlando
Teams took to the courts wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts and taking a knee, along with coaching staffs and referees, during the playing of the national anthem. They also donned social justice messages on their jerseys like “Say Their Names,” worn by Lakers guard Quinn Cook, or “How Many More,” worn by Lakers forward Danny Green. James himself opted not to wear a social justice message on his Jersey.
Meanwhile, James, now looking to take some time off during the off season is turning his attention to the 2020 presidential election. Earlier this month, his voting initiative, More Than A Vote, reportedly recruited 10,000 poll workers to fight against voter suppression, according to CNN.
Obama also voiced his support for the initiative with a social media video.