This Saturday the NBA will finally restart their regular season. All the eyes of the world will be fixated on Orlando as 22 teams resume their quest to be world champions, however, it is evident the NBA players want to redirect the world’s eyes to our state of Kentucky.
One of the biggest factors ahead of the NBA restart is the players wanting to spark change with social justice issues. In the wake of the senseless killings of unarmed Black people, most notably George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Louisville’s Breonna Taylor, players have been spotted at numerous Black Lives Matter protests.
A handful of players wanted to suspend the season further or cancel it altogether in order to focus solely on these issues. But, with forward-thinking by the league and the players, they decided to raise awareness through messages like Black Lives Matter on the court of the NBA bubble and on the back of their jersey with messages sparking social change.
Now, players are specifically focusing in on Kentucky Attorney General, Daniel Cameron, calling for the arrests and charging of three Louisville police officers; Detective Brett Hankison, Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove.
Those three officers shot Taylor and left her without medical attention for 20 minutes. Hankison was fired while Mattingly and Cosgrove were placed on administrative reassignment.
When the WNBA kicked off their season on Saturday, players took the court with Breonna Taylor’s name donned on the back of their uniforms. Ahead of the opener between the Seattle Storm and the New York Liberty, Layshia Clarendon and Breanna Stewart took the court to dedicate the 2020 season to Taylor.
— WNBA (@WNBA) July 25, 2020
Over to the NBA, the league has seen its biggest stars stand with Taylor. LeBron James took to Instagram a little over a week ago sharing his sentiments with a post simply saying, “Dear Breonna, I’m sorry this is taking so long.”
On Thursday, after the Lakers’ first scrimmage in the bubble, LeBron spent most of his postgame press conference bringing light to Taylor’s situation. Most notably, he wants the state of Kentucky to know that the league is with the citizens who want justice for Taylor.
LeBron James just went-IN for 15 minutes on Breonna Taylor and race in America.
“We want the cops arrested.”
— Rex Chapman?? (@RexChapman) July 24, 2020
Other players have taken to post-game interviews to redirect the focus from basketball to the disciplinary action of Taylor’s killers. Most notably, after the first scrimmage on Wednesday LA Clippers star Paul George used his entire post-game press conference to discuss Taylor’s death and police brutality.
“I take this time to give my condolences to the family of the Taylors, Breonna Taylor, rest in peace. George Floyd, rest in peace,” George said. “There are so many others out there that have been brutally murdered by the hands of police. That is all I got — that is my message for everyone and that will continue to be my answer.”
Following the LA Clippers' first game in over four months, Paul George used his postgame media session as a call to justice for Breonna Taylor and George Floyd ?? https://t.co/HP0mljbacT pic.twitter.com/STGyJQTsV1
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 23, 2020
Former Louisville Cardinal Donavan Mitchell echoed the same sentiment.
“First, I would like to start off — guys have been saying it throughout the week, and I want to continue to spread the message — we need justice for Breonna Taylor, we all understand she was killed in her own home; you know if there’s a point where you can’t feel safe in your own home, that’s not right,” said the Jazz star.
Donovan Mitchell says players will keep the conversation going especially regarding #BreonnaTaylor …quite passionate about it at todays media session (especially with the Louisville connection)#NBA #NBAisBack #NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/W3jStYRmHY
— Dave Fox (@Davefox2) July 23, 2020
Tobias Harris even went as far to personally call out AG Daniel Cameron for these arrests.
.@kyoag, we will not stop until you take action.
Brett Hankison, Jon Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove need to be fired, arrested, and charged for the murder of Breonna Taylor.
— Kenny Stills (@KSTiLLS) July 20, 2020
Countless other players have joined in with the same message: they want these officers arrested.
When the country’s eyes fall on Orlando next week, when the games matter the most and will likely see record viewing numbers, it is clear the players will continue to redirect those eyes to Kentucky for Breonna Taylor.