NBA resumes: Jazz and Pelicans players took a knee before kicking off the league’s reopened season

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NBA resumes: Jazz and Pelicans players took a knee before kicking off the league's reopened season


Moments before tipoff on Thursday evening, the players, who were joined by coaches and game officials, all took a knee.

The players also wore black “Black Lives Matter” shirts both during warm-ups and the National Anthem. Some contained messages like, “Equality,” “I am a man,” “Ally,” and, “Say her name,” sending a clear message in support of the social justice movement.

Coaches, referees, and members of the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz kneel together around the court's Black Lives Matter logo during the national anthem before the start of Thursday's NBA basketball game in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

The NBA isn’t the first league to restart their season with players kneeling in support of the movement.

The WNBA, when the league began its season last week, dedicated the season to Breonna Taylor and the Say Her Name campaign. Outside of basketball, many MLB players also took a knee as their season resumed earlier this month.

All of these demonstrations come amidst unrest in the US over the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and mirror that of Colin Kaepernick during the 2016-17 NFL season.

The deaths have caused ongoing protests throughout the country, and resulted in calls for racial equality, social justice and police reform in the US, among other demands.

The NBA returned after a 20-week hiatus in a so-called bubble, in Orlando, Florida.

The league shut down on March 11 when — just moments before the Utah Jazz were to take on the Thunder in Oklahoma City — it was learned that Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for Covid-19.

On Thursday night when play resumed it was fitting, then, that Gobert scored the first basket in a layup.



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