There is a lot of talk surrounding the NBA right now, but the main name in headlines is Brooklyn Nets Guard Kyrie Irving. With the progression of the Black Lives Matter movement, there’s a lot of high tension going on, and a lot of ideas as to how to bring more change. On a conference call between players, Irving made a statement saying that he believes that the NBA shouldn’t come back because it would be a distraction and slow down the progression of the Black Lives Matters movement.
After making this statement, there were a lot of reactions to what Irving had to say. ESPN analyst Kendrik Perkins responded to Irving’s statement saying, “If you take Kyrie Irving’s brain and put it in a bird right now, guess what that bird is going to do. It’s going to fly backwards because Kyrie right now is confused, he’s showing his lack of leadership,” Forbes.com reported.
There were other things that were said about Irving’s comments too. Lakers Center Dwight Howard issued a statement saying that he believes that pausing the league would be good for the movement, but they aren’t trying to stop players from going to play and finish the season; they are just trying to bring awareness to the problem that is a lack of social justice.
At first, it would seem like it is easy for Irving to make such a request, seeing as he wouldn’t be going to Orlando to play anyway, but now that some time has passed, some NBA fans don’t think his argument seems so outlandish. When asked if the NBA returning would slow down the progress of the BLM movement, Alex Sherley, a sophomore at Bradley University, sided with Irving. “Yes, it’ll definitely be a distraction because if the NBA returned it’ll be a way to bring things back to normal. But with the issues that are happening now, things can’t be normal again.”
Another student from Bradley, sports communications major Blake Sartin, had a different perspective. “If the NBA lets players wear symbolic items like the ‘I can’t breathe’ shirts, then it shouldn’t slow down the progress that the movement is making.”
Stephen Jackson, a former NBA player and close friend of the late George Floyd, addressed Irving’s comments saying, “The first press conference I had, he been calling me damn near every day on FaceTime. He’s been passionate about this, and by the conversation he had, I just think he understands this moment. And he’s just like me. I don’t have all the answers. And he’s speaking off heart. He’s speaking off passion. Because – I ain’t said this on no interviews – he’s been calling me crying, because he literally knows that I’m putting everything on the line,” according to Yahoo Sports.
There is a lot to think about for basketball players for the next month, while they try to decide whether or not they should sit out or not, but it is nice to see the impact that this movement is having on everyone, and it seems that everyone is really trying to learn, understand, and make change for the better.
By Devin Foster, Freshman, Bradley University