Stephen Jackson on players sitting out when season resumes: ‘Change has to happen now’
As the NBA prepares to resume their Orlando, Florida season next month, some league players are considering dropping out across the country, largely due to the massive protests against Black Lives Matter that have taken place since George Floyd's death last month .
More than 80 NBA and WNBA players took part in a zoom call on Friday night, and Kyrie Irving, the guard of the Brooklyn Nets, has reportedly made a passionate argument against gambling for this reason.
Former NBA star Stephen Jackson, who has been one of the most outspoken sports figures since Floyd's death, spoke to The Athletic's Shams Charania on Saturday.
A permanent change, he said, is currently the most important thing.
"We have to stop worrying about insulting people because we are killed," Jackson said of the stadium. "We have all sons. We have all daughters ... We have to take advantage of this moment. How long are we?" How long will we put material things and games and things more important than people?
"This is when we have to stop and I think people understand that, but I think they have to leave their comfort zone."
"We have to stop worrying about insulting people because we are the ones who are killed."
Stephen Jackson, NBA champion from '03, explained to our NBA insider @ShamsCharania his stance on players considering sitting due to social / racist unrest.
6:00 p.m. - June 13, 2020
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Jackson spent 14 seasons in the league from 2000 to 2014 and won a 2003 title with the San Antonio Spurs. Since Floyd's death in Minneapolis, he has been extremely vocal since the two close friends and both were from Houston.
The NBA will attempt to continue its season with 22 teams at Disney World in Orlando, Florida on July 30th. Irving, along with several other notable players - including Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Donovan Mitchell - have expressed support for the suspension. Pacers Guard Malcolm Brogdon said he spoke to several players who are "super interested".
Other factors are also likely to be considered in this decision, including the COVID-19 pandemic, injury risk, and more.
However, some, such as LeBron James and Austin Rivers, find it better to play and still strive to bring about lasting social change at the same time.
While he has not specifically spoken out in favor of boycotting or canceling the season on this matter, Jackson wants to ensure that movement and dynamism are not lost.
"None of these white owners spoke out," Jackson said in an Instagram video he posted on Saturday. "Playing basketball means nothing more than making money and drawing attention to what we're fighting for, what we're marching for. It's bigger than all of us and bigger than the game. It's sad that we still do it to people have to explain, brother. It's sad. "
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