Lou Williams reveals why he opted to play despite initial 50/50 stance
LOS ANGELES – The NBA’s Orlando return was set to feature 22 teams in the playoffs or in the hunt for the playoffs. Every team and its players have had to weigh their options, taking health, social issues, and the future of the NBA. It was no different for Lou Williams and the LA Clippers.
As of late June, Williams was still undecided on the NBA’s Orlando bubble. Obviously, the team is in great position to win an NBA Championship, but Williams remained on the pence about participating in the league’s restart.
On Saturday, Williams met with members of the media, where he revealed what swayed his decision in favor of playing.
“We spoke as a group,” Lou Williams explained. “We spoke as a team and we decided that our decision. It was going to be everybody or nobody. And so once we sat down, we had a conversations, we decided to take a vote and we just had more things in common and we just decided that we were going to come as a group. So I’m part of the group. I have a lot of thoughts and ideas of the things that I felt strongly about personally but I represent a group. I represent an organization; so ultimately that led to my decision.”
On a call with some fans on CoStar last month, Williams expressed his interest in seeing what the league would do to give itself and players a voice on racial injustice and other social issues.
“This is a whirlwind of a time,” Williams told CoStar in June. “We don’t know what’s the right decision now. We’re trying to figure that out on the fly like everybody else because we have a job to do, livelihoods, we have families to feed and we’re also a majority of Black men at the same time. And so we’re trying to find that balance where if we do suit up we’re having conversations behind closed doors. If we do suit up, how much of this platform can we really use? Can we get a ‘Black Lives Matter’ patch on our jerseys? Can our jerseys say ‘Black Lives Matter’? Can the court say ‘Black Lives Matter,’ so we can use that platform to the best of our abilities? It’s just hard to call, man. Honestly, it’s hard to call. I’m 50/50 right now, to be honest.”
Since those comments were made, the NBA has announced a list of approved messages players will be allowed to display on their jerseys, and will also have the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ on their courts. There could also be messages delivered during timeouts to continue to spread awareness.
From the social issues aspect, Lou Williams is content with the progress the NBA has made over the last few weeks.
“Yeah, that’s progression. I’m happy to know that I work for a company that stands alongside of the minorities that’s in this country and want to make a bold statement like that.
“Obviously they have a lot of sponsors and everything as far as sponsorship goes, and some people may not feel that way. But I thought it was important for the NBA to listen to the players and listen to our voices and put the things in motion that we felt strongly about and stand next to us with those issues, so I was really happy about that.”
Players brought some fascinating items to Orlando, but Williams’ choice of a mini recording studio was at the top of the list.
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) July 9, 2020
“As far as my studio setup goes, I’m pushing the date a lot. I had a project that was due out July 4th that we were going to put out. Obviously the timing wasn’t right. We didn’t feel right about putting it out. I didn’t think it was right to celebrate music at that time. I’m just going to continue to record, and we’ll put it out whenever we put it out.”
This entire experience is something that’s never been done before. Players, coaches, and media be tested almost every day. The seeding games will see an average of five games per day on campus starting in the early afternoon and ending just before midnight. Many players and coaches have called the Orlando bubble and its AAU environment ‘the safest place’ to be right now. It’s hard to disagree as long as there are no leaks or entering and exiting of the bubble.
“The process, it’s been unique,” Williams conceded with a smile. “I will say it’s been unique… As far as the bubble goes, it’s going to be an adjustment. It’s going to be fun. Everybody is kind of characterizing it as a really big AAU tournament, so we’re looking forward to it.”