A very political recovery for the NBA

The NBA has written

“Whole new game”: that’s the slogan – “A brand new game” chosen by the NBA to celebrate the resumption of the basketball championship in the United States, Thursday, July 30. There is no doubt that, 140 days after the forced end of the competition, this return to the game will not look anything like what the very popular American league usually offers: due to the Covid-19 epidemic, the teams are gathered at Disney World, in Orlando (Florida), and will compete behind closed doors under strict conditions of protection.

But beyond the health challenge, the NBA must also take up a mission that it has assigned itself: to serve as an example and megaphone to maintain the breath of the Black Lives Matter movement. (“Black lives matter”), returned to the forefront after the death of George Floyd, an African-American killed during his arrest by police in Minneapolis (Minnesota) on May 25.

“The league and the players are uniquely positioned to have a direct impact in combating systemic racism in our country, and we ensure that we will engage collectively to build a more egalitarian and just society.” NBA boss Adam Silver said.

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Behind this consensus, the dialogue has not always been fluid: a few weeks ago, several players threatened to boycott the resumption of the championship, judging that it distracted the public’s attention from the fight against racial inequalities.

“I don’t know if the recovery will impact the current protests, Judge Damion Thomas, curator of sports at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, but I do not remember a historical moment that was slowed down because of sport. “

The threat brandished by Kyrie Irving was ultimately not followed – no package today is due to political reasons – and we will never know if the Brooklin Nets player would have been at the end of his logic if he had not been injured. He nevertheless announced to pay 1.5 million dollars (1.3 million euros) to the few players of the WNBA (the women’s championship) who do not participate in the resumption of their season.

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Some players will also donate part of their salaries to associations, such as Australia’s Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs), who will distribute more than $ 1 million to organizations fighting against racism in her country.

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