The NBA appears to be on track to resuming its season next month, but over the weekend several players publicly questioned the league’s approach and whether playing was a good idea at all.
I think you have to look at it from every player’s own perspective. For me, personally, I’m for the Black Lives Matter movement. I’ve always been for it. When I was in Portland, me and Moe Harkless would go through the inner cities and really try to get involved in police reform. We’d bring black kids and the police together, trying to help them find some common ground and gain respect for each other. Like I said, I’m all for that. At the same time, I know a lot of guys are iffy about playing. But it’s sort of bigger than that because if we don’t play, I honestly think there’s a chance that we won’t play next year. I just had a 2-month-old so of course I don’t want to go away for two months, but it’s just something I feel that we have to do to save the league and for all the people who came behind us and all the people who are going to come after us. This is coming from a 10-year vet; I’m on the back end of my career and I’ve made enough money, so it’s not really about the money. It’s more about the future guys – a guy like Donovan Mitchell, who is looking at a $160 million dollar contract but he might only get $90 million if the cap drops.
Davis goes on to discuss how situations differ in the NBA, and some players need to play:
It’s easy for a guy like Kyrie [Irving] to say that he’ll give everything back [for social reform], but would he really give everything back? It’s easy for Dwight Howard to say that we don’t need to play when he’s in Atlanta in his $20 million mansion. But there are other guys on the rosters who need this money to provide for whoever they’re taking care of and things like that. It’s easy for the superstars in the league to say this and how they feel about this and that. But it means a lot more when it comes from the role players and the guys that [aren’t stars]. There are so many different perspectives because there are so many different levels in the NBA. Like I said, it’s so easy for the superstars to say, “Let’s just not play,” and they’re good. But some guys can’t just do that. There are lives on the line and, like I said, generational wealth on the line. These are the hits that we’re going to take if we don’t play.
Former Trail Blazer Channing Frye has mixed feelings about a return. Despite being recently retired, he offered his take to Willamette Week:
“It’s easy to protest when the sun is out and it’s convenient,” says the 37-year-old sharpshooter, who lives in Lake Oswego with his wife and four children and a new wheaten terrier puppy. “What’s going to happen in a month? What’s going to happen in three months? These things take time to change. I just don’t want America to divert their eyes to feel-good basketball.”
With games set to resume this summer, it’s clear that opinion is still divided on the issue.