Adam Silver details critical talk with LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard after players’ strike
The ongoing 2020 NBA playoffs have truly given us some quality basketball action, but the entire thing could have been shelved following the shooting of Jacob Blake last month. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recalled the time he sat down with two of the league’s premier players, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers, to come up with with a compromise and stop the players’ boycott of the season.
“I spoke to both of those players and I think there was a lot of emotion around the initial decision to stop play,” Silver bared, per CNN’s Bob Costas, as relayed by Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report.
“I think, in part, it wasn’t initially a decision that had been made collectively by all the players. And I think LeBron and Kawhi, given a chance to sort of step back, think about the larger impact that they could have there, the implications of not playing—incidentally, thousands of jobs for people in the Orlando community, thousands of jobs in team cities—if we had stopped playing.”
The 2019-20 campaign was initially suspended back in March due to the pandemic. It was put on hold for an unprecedented second time last month when NBA players opted not to play as a form of protest, a day after Blake was shot by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Bucks spearheaded the boycott during their first-round series against the Orlando Magic. The league decided to postpone all games that day.
There were some serious concerns that players did not want to take the court anymore after LeBron James and the rest of his teammates voted the season to be canceled. Both LA-based teams were the only ones who voted no.
Meanwhile, Adam Silver’s initiative to have a sit down with both James and Leonard certainly played a major part in changing their outlook — and perhaps, even saved the season. The two superstars, after all, command a lot of respect from their fellow peers on and off the court.