Mike Ehrmann / Associated Press
Los Angeles Lakers guard LeBron James told reporters he hopes the NBA has made former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick proud after pregame protests during the national anthem.
Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina
LeBron James is still on his knees during the anthem to protest against systemic racism: “I hope we made Kaep proud.”; LeBron then explains his gratitude for the military https://t.co/FHYWyD06Hm
“Chief was someone who stood up when times weren’t comfortable,” said James (h / t Lauren A. Jones of Los Angeles Sentinel). “When people didn’t understand … he had absolutely nothing to do with the flag he explained that and people never heard. I did! We just thank him for sacrificing everything he did.”
Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem to protest systemic racism and police brutality during the 2016 NFL season.
As Rhiannon Walker (then of The Unndefeated) noted in an aggregation of responses to Kaepernick’s actions, the quarterback received praise, severe criticism and some mixed reactions to his work in the sports world.
Ultimately, Kaepernick found himself out of NFL work after the 2016 season despite his production on the dying 49ers team (18 total touchdowns and only four interceptions in 11 innings). games).
On Thursday, players, coaches and referees taking part in the Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers all played back during the anthem, with players wearing “Black Lives” t-shirts. Matter “.
The @utahjazz and @PelicansNBA couple in solidarity as @JonBatiste performs the National Anthem ahead of the NBA Restart. https://t.co/dQeHSbUx87
Los Angeles Lakers @Lakers
United for a bigger cause. #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/dthLmon0a7
NBA players continued to promote the fight for social justice as they played the rest of the season on the Walt Disney World tournament near Orlando, Florida in the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused a four-year suspension. month and a half 2019-20 Campaign starting March 11th
James explained the league’s message in an after-game interview with NBA TV and NBA on TNT reporter Jared Greenberg following his team’s 103-101 victory, which was limited by the game’s winning shot. with the remaining 12.8 seconds and the subsequent defense turned off at the other end:
NBA on TNT @NBAonTNT
“We want to keep putting our foot down on gas … love continues to spread across America.” @KingJames discusses the NBA restart and social change w / @JaredSGreenberg. https://t.co/HubuVKV03X
He also posted this Instagram section linked to an image that raises his fist while kneeling the hymn on Thursday: “What is your purpose in life ??? Create change, motivate and inspire others are my little ones! I hope I continue to make you proud! I love you all! ❤️❤️❤️✊🏾✊🏾 #BlackLivesMatter #ThankYouKap #JusticeForBreonnaTaylor. 💔 “
Messages from the players came in various forms, and some convey thoughts during postgame press conferences or after practice.
Of note, after Utah won 104-102 over the Pels, Jazz shooting guard Donovan Mitchell revealed a bulletproof vest listing people killed for police brutality:
Taylor Rooks @TaylorRooks
Statement – Donovan Mitchell has a bulletproof vest. The robe bears the name of several people killed due to police brutality. He adds the quote “Am I next?” https://t.co/wUp1QYYNQk
In addition, players on all four teams listed messages on the back of their shirts in support of social justice, with examples including “Say Her Name,” “Equality” and “Black Lives Matter.”
The NBA reboot will continue on Friday with six more games, starting with the Orlando Magic tilt with the Brooklyn Networks at 2:30 pm ET.