The past few months in the United States and around the world have been marked by two major crises. That of the Covid-19, which pushed the arrest of the NBA, and that for social justice following the murder of George Floyd by a policeman on the streets of Minneapolis. This episode marked everyone’s minds, and after many negotiations between the players and the leaders of the big league, all measures will be taken to ensure that the voice of the players is heard in Orlando. The fight begins tonight.
As a reminder, the 3 gymnasiums that will host this end of the NBA season will all be illustrated on their respective floors by the message ”Black Lives Matter”. That’s not all, players can also replace the name on their jersey with a social message of their choice, from a list of 29 possible combinations issued by the NBA. While they had all kept their traditional jerseys during friendlies, NBA players will be sporting their new tunics tonight, with (for most of them) a message of their choice. The message ”Equalityis the one that will be listed on a majority of these jerseys.
Another novelty this evening, the return of the American national anthem. While he had disappeared from the friendly matches, he will make his entry into the bubble this evening, before the start of the meetings between Jazz and Pelicans, then between Lakers and Clippers. On this occasion, the players took a strong decision. Nothing has been officially announced, but the insider Shams Charania indicates that a consensus has been formed between NBA players to kneel during this national anthem.
The gesture was never made in the NBA, and would of course have a high symbolic value. This gesture popularized by the American footballer Colin Kaepernick, aims to denounce police violence against African-Americans, against the unbearable systemic racism that reigns in the ranks of the police. Since the murder of George Floyd, murdered by the knee of a police officer, the symbolic value of this gesture has decreased. Jazz and Pelican players should therefore be the first to kneel down tonight, around half past midnight.