It’s no secret former President Barack Obama is a huge fan of basketball. He played it in high school and had some memorable pickup games at the White House with players, including LeBron James, Scottie Pippen, and Magic Johnson. On Wednesday, Obama, along with the rest of the sports world, watched as the Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, and WNBA made a stand in protesting against racial injustice. The former President liked what he saw.
Doc Rivers offers emotional response to Jacob Blake shooting
On Sunday, Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. That incident was yet another flashpoint for a nation struggling to address various racial injustices, including police brutality.
In a press conference following the LA Clippers 154-111 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the first-round playoff series, Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who has personally experienced numerous racist incidents in the past, offered an emotional response to the situation the Black community faces on a daily basis.
“All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear. We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot, and we’re the ones that are denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung. We’ve been shot. And all you do is keep hearing about fear.
“It’s amazing to me why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back. It’s really so sad. Like, I should just be a coach. I’m so often reminded of my color. It’s just really sad. We got to do better. But we got to demand better.”
Milwaukee Bucks’ boycott leads to other teams and leagues boycotting
Less than 24 hours after Doc Rivers’ emotional post-game press conference, the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic were scheduled to play Game 5 of their first-round playoff series. It never happened.
The Bucks refused to come out of their locker room in protest of the Blake shooting. A short time later, the players exited the locker room and George Hill and Sterling Brown read a prepared statement.
“The past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African-American communities. Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against the wrongdoings…Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.”
The NBA subsequently postponed all games for the day. The next domino to fall was the WNBA, and then multiple teams in MLB and MLS also did not play their games in a display of solidarity.
Barack Obama shows support for boycotts
The actions of the Milwaukee Bucks players not only set off a chain of events that made headlines around the world, they also caught the attention of the former Commander-in-Chief, who posted his thoughts on Twitter.
“I commend the players on the @Bucks for standing up for what they believe in, coaches like @DocRivers, and the @NBA and @WNBA for setting an example. It’s going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values.”
Barack Obama understands first hand the racist beliefs held by some in this nation. He was on the receiving of it for years as the President. He also recognizes in order to overcome those many challenges, it’s going to take teamwork. And a small-market NBA team from Wisconsin is a good place to start.