MIAMI >> The NBA plans to head to Disney World next month to end a season, with a schedule calling on the 22 remaining teams to play more than 150 games and the league eventually becoming a champion is becoming.
Coaches may also see a bigger goal.
Many players and coaches have spoken out in recent days after the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to the back of his neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving and begged for air. But two coaches said today that once the league arrives at Disney, they would expect the NBA’s visibility to be another asset in hopes of actual change.
“I don’t think anyone is really ready to move on. And we shouldn’t be doing that,” said coach Erik Spoelstra of Miami. “If there was something, many times before, so tragically enough, there would have been a similar incident social injustice, and then people forget it two weeks later, this is an opportunity for the entire association to land in one place … to keep this conversation going and use our platform to make sure this won’t go away. “
Spoelstra said he has had numerous conversations with other head coaches and some players over the past few days about the best path the NBA can take. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has also discussed it extensively in recent days, with numerous internal staff discussions on the subject over the past week, even as the league was finalizing the return-to-game proposal that the Board approved on Thursday and players confirmed Friday.
Orlando coach Steve Clifford also seems confident that the league’s players and coaches will take some sort of action when the season resumes.
“I don’t think there is any question,” said Clifford. “I think everyone is now a priority and I hope we can all participate in the change that is so needed in our country. We have a collective platform where everyone can collectively send a message condemning racism, racial injustice and becoming the police addressed. There will be a platform and I think we all think that way. “
Many of the league’s biggest names have used social media to condemn police brutality and racial injustice, and some NBA players have also appeared on demonstrations and marches across the country in recent days.
The National Basketball Coaches Association has also said it will work together to find answers and determine the best course of action. It has not said whether it has made any specific decisions, although it does intend to work with “local leaders, officials and law enforcement” in NBA cities to influence change.
For the same purpose, Spoelstra has had several telephone calls to political leaders in South Florida over the past few days. He also said today that the current racial struggle in the country brought him back to how Heat players reacted in 2012 after the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager shot by a volunteer in the area, as well as countless other incidents.
“We all thought that the needle would move and it didn’t and it broke your heart,” said Spoelstra. “And if that happens over and over again … what it requires is not even trying to evaluate, it’s just sticking your head down and going into this battle and making it happen this time.”