Numerous NBA players have sparked up a conversation about the NBA’s plan to resume the 2019-20 season. Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has been a driving force against the NBA’s return.
Numerous reports state that the 28-year old point guard has been a “driving force” in bringing up issues about the NBA’s restart in a call with other NBA players.
“I don’t support going into Orlando,” Irving told the players, according to Charania. “I’m not with the systematic racism and the bullshit. Something smells a little fishy. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are targeted as black men every day we wake up.”
Kyrie has a valid point. With everything we’re dealing with as a country right now, the NBA’s return could be used as a way for society to ‘move onto the next’ topic. NBA players have also been very vocal in the recent upswing of the Black Lives Matter movement. With them returning to play, could that distract them from the current problem at hand, and frankly, away from what’s most important? The system that we live in and our government has a proven track record of distracting us from our goal, while also feeding us (Black people) what we want to hear to make us back off. Bringing the NBA back could easily do the same thing, while also indirectly telling these athletes to ‘shut up and dribble,” by throwing them back out there.
Austin Rivers spoke out on Instagram, with a rebuttal to Irving’s statement.
Rivers also has a valid point and most of the NBA seems to share the same ideology as him. While yes, the resumption of the league could cause the wrong people to become distracted, this is an opportunity for these athletes to use their platform to continue the conversation. You also have to think about people’s mental health during these times. This period in time is essential for White Americans to be force-fed information about a reality they should have learned about in American history. But for Black Americans, this is nothing new to us. With African-Americans being a huge percentage of the NBA’s fanbase, they could use some therapeutic basketball and entertainment in-between the protests and ignorance they see on social media daily.
I think we can all agree that Irving’s statements are coming from a good place. He’s become known for thinking outside of the box, and this is another example of that. When people think outside of the box, that comes with a lot of people not seeing eye-to-eye with your beliefs. That’s what’s happening to Kyrie right now. There is truth in what he’s saying. Is it all right and spot-on? No. But it’s coming from a good place. The same goes for Rivers who’s on the other side of the same argument.
Through the disagreements, the most impressive part about this little feud is that seemingly every Black player in the NBA wants the same common goal; and that’s for black lives to finally matter in a country that never gives them the impression that they matter. Everyone wants to fix systematic racism. Everyone wants police brutality and for unjust killings to end. Methods are just different. There’s no reason to drag Irving’s name through the mud when he’s speaking his mind, in favor of something we’re all trying to change.