With the enormous audience the NBA is able to generate, it is to no surprise that people involved in the league would try to use the platform they have to express their position on different societal issues.
Here is a look at five of the most vocal NBA personalities when it comes to social issues.
Enes Kanter, a Turkish center who currently plays for the Boston Celtics, is also labeled as an enemy of the state and a terrorist by his home country.
Kanter is known to be an outspoken critic of Turkish president Recep Erdogan’s human rights abuse and erosion of press freedom. He chooses to use his platform as an NBA player to cause conversation, create awareness, and be a voice to those affected by the current situation in Turkey.
Lately, Kanter was also seen on the streets of Boston among the rallies supporting the Black Lives Matter movement in a stand against racism.
Stephen Jackson has been in the news lately for actively speaking out against racism and police brutality.
With his longtime friend George Floyd being murdered by Minneapolis police officers in broad daylight almost three weeks ago, this sparked a huge worldwide conversation and movement for change.
In the center of it all has been Jackson, a retired NBA veteran and a very strong advocate for such change. He has made numerous appearances at the forefront of public protests, giving speeches and sharing his thoughts on the whole situation.
Jackson has utilized his platform as a former NBA player through the use of his presence on social media to promote different fundraisers and ways to help the movement.
Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, is also one of the most vocal personalities regarding social issues.
What better way to promote a league of athletes who stand for the right cause than leading by example and encouraging such culture as commissioner of the NBA?
In his tenure as commissioner of the NBA, Silver has addressed issues such as racism by issuing a lifetime ban to former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Ultimately, from denouncing an anti-LGBTQ bill by pulling the 2017 NBA All-Star Game out of Charlotte, to promoting gender equality in hiring and continuously ensuring the players’ right to free speech, Silver has truly spearheaded an environment that takes a position against these deep-rooted societal issues.
Gregg Popovich, the legendary coach of the San Antonio Spurs, is one of the most outspoken people in the NBA who is not afraid to say what’s on his mind and stand for what he believes in.
Popovich is part of the NBCSA or National Basketball Coaches Association’s committee on racial injustice and reform as he is among one of the most consistent voices on social issues in the sport. The committee aims to work with local leaders and officials in their NBA cities to pursue solutions and enact change.
With the recent murder of George Floyd, Rod Beard of The Detroit News reports that fellow NBA coach Dwane Casey heaped praise on Popovich’s constant initiative to lead the movement and fight for equality.
Last but definitely not least is LeBron James. James currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers and is often regarded by many as the greatest NBA basketball player of all time.
Off the NBA court, he makes it to a point never to stay silent and be a mere bystander to different societal issues.
James has critiqued Donald Trump on numerous occasions for the things he says and the way he is running his administration through Tweets, among other actions, that show his dissent and distaste for the president.
James is also an advocate of racial injustice and the movement to eliminate police brutality. Back in 2014, James was one of the many players who wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts to raise awareness in the NBA and the larger culture over the unjust death of Eric Garner at the hands of a police officer.
With the recent death of George Floyd, James has come out once again on social media to promote the “More Than a Vote” project, which empowers and educates African-Americans on their voting rights.
These NBA personalities, among many others, have used their voice in the hopes of eradicating these issues that plague our society. Their influence really does go beyond the basketball court and into the masses to try and encourage societal reform.