NBA, NBPA release statement announcing formation of social justice coalition, conversion of arenas to voting locations after player protests

July 30, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, USA; LeBron James #23 and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers in a Black Lives Matter Shirt kneel with their teammates during the national anthem prior to the game against the LA Clippers at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 30, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

It has been a whirlwind 48 hours for the Los Angeles Lakers and the 29 other NBA teams following the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to boycott their Wednesday playoff game against the Orlando Magic. Many meetings occurred afterward between owners, coaches, players, and even Jacob Blake’s family, as players were focused on bringing real action to their goals as being proactive instead of reactive was preached constantly. We will now have the 2020 NBA Playoffs start again Saturday.

You can read the entire joint statement between the NBA and the NBPA here, but below are the three commitments that the two parties will work on together (first reported by Tim Bontemps/ESPN):

1. The NBA and its players have agreed to immediately establish a social justice coalition, with representatives from players, coaches and governors, that will be focused on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.

2. In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID.  If a deadline has passed, team governors will work with local elections officials to find another election-related use for the facility, including but not limited to voter registration and ballot receiving boards.

3. The league will work with the players and our network partners to create and include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.

Although it seemed to be a long short once the events started unfolding on Wednesday, the NBA players will reportedly reconvene on the courts Saturday after all remaining 13 teams practice today. It remains to be seen if the Los Angeles Lakers will officially play tomorrow, but it seems as though that they will considering that they were supposed to play Wednesday and since Tania Ganguli of the LA Times reported that it is “likely” that Game 5 is played tomorrow.

Huge congratulations though to the NBA players for getting organized in such a short amount of time and putting action to their words.

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