Last night, every coach, player and referee that took part in the Clippers-Lakers game kneeled during the national anthem while wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt. It was a strong message from the NBA, as the league tried to show unity.
LeBron James was asked about both teams kneeling during the national anthem. In his response to the media, the four-time MVP gave a shoutout to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick’s protest during the national anthem was to raise awareness on the systematic racism taking place in the United States. Many fans thought his actions were his way of expressing negative feelings toward the flag, but that wasn’t his motive. James wanted to remind the public about Kaepernick’s motives during his press conference.
“I hope we made Kaepernick proud,” James said. “I hope we continue to make him proud every single day….Kaepernick is someone who stood up at times when it wasn’t comfortable and people refused to listen to what he was saying. It had nothing to do about the flag or the men and women that keep our land free.”
LeBron James on kneeling during the anthem to protest systemic racism: “I hope we made Kaep proud.” LeBron then explains his gratitude for the military pic.twitter.com/FHYWyD06Hm
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) July 31, 2020
Following the Lakers’ win over the Clippers, James also had a message to share about social change in the United States.
“There’s been progress, but in the past when we’ve made progress, we’ve let our foot off the gas,” James told NBA reporter Jared Greenberg. “We can’t do that. We want to continue to put our foot on the gas and continue to spread love throughout America. We’re dealing with a lot of racism and social injustice in America.”
James has been the face of the NBA for years because of moments like this. He often speaks out on injustice in this country, as long as he’s educated on the topic like he said in his press conference.
Expect the NBA to continue carrying out its message this season with James at the forefront.