The National Basketball Association and National Basketball Players Association released a joint statement on Friday (August 28) announcing that the league’s playoffs will resume on Saturday. The season came to a halt on Wednesday (August 26) when the Milwaukee Bucks decided to strike for social justice following the shooting of Jacob Blake in nearby Kenosha, Wisconsin. The rest of the NBA teams, as well as the WNBA, quickly followed suit.
The NBA and NBPA announced that they are also working on several initiatives to promote voting access, combat social and racial injustice, and police reform.
"These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community," NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said in the joint statement, according to ESPN.
“We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together -- in Orlando and in all NBA team markets -- to push for meaningful and sustainable change."
An immediate establishment of a social justice coalition, including players, coaches and governors is among the commitments the NBA is implementing. It will reportedly cover a wide array of issues not limited to increasing voting access and the promotion of civic engagement and advocating for "meaningful police and criminal justice reform."
The Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Charlotte Hornets and Utah Jazz have already announced that they’re making their arenas centers for voting in November.
More Than a Vote, a nonprofit organization co-founded by LeBron James, released a statement over the NBA’s new initiatives.
"We stand ready to support the NBPA's and NBA's effort to convert every NBA arena possible into a polling location for this fall's election,” the statement reads.
“We know that voting will not end our pain. Voting cannot bring back those killed by the police officers sworn to protect us. Voting cannot erase the scars of slavery and segregation. It cannot change our history, but it can change our future.”
It continues: "If it couldn't, those in power wouldn't be trying so hard to take the right to vote away from us. They wouldn't be trying so hard to erect barriers to the ballot box."
You can visit More Than a Vote for more information.
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)