The NBA: Moving towards a unified community

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Image courtesy of the NBA

Over the course of the past months, our nation and our world have seen significant change. From the coronavirus pandemic, which has so many effects even in the smallest aspects of daily life, to the outcry for racial equality in response to a string of irrefutable tragedies and violence against the Black community, the world seems to me to be in a rather bad way.  In the wake of this unprecedented disease and these clear violations of social justice, these conversations and topics remain conscious in everyone’s hearts and minds.  

Some may be following the NBA’s movements in response to the social outcry, which includes teams kneeling for the national anthem, representing the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement with t-shirts and inscribing “BLM” in large letters on the court. Headed by the Milwaukee Bucks and followed by the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers, the most recent demonstration has involved the players  refusing to play games at all. These strikes were in response to the shooting and subsequent paralysis of Jacob Blake in front of his children last Sunday. According to an article by Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks of ESPN, the league and owners were quick to meet with players and take initiative in these issues.

Regardless of personal opinions about the actions being taken by the players, it is remarkable that this collective of teams was able to quickly take action. Anyone who has ever been on an organized team of any kind can attest to the sense of camaraderie and responsibility that is fostered in that environment, especially in organized sports. Perfect team cohesion is always the goal, which is only attainable through a serious understanding from every individual to look out for the wellbeing of each of the other players. These quickly established initiatives and measures speak to that spirit of community that is so necessary to the NBA and all teams.

The league and players have agreed to partner on several measures that players have been advocating for on social media for several months. One of these measures is a social justice coalition, composed of players, coaches and team owners working to increase voting access, promoting civic engagement and advocating for “meaningful police and criminal justice reform,” according to the same ESPN article.

Some hold that many of these movements work against societal cohesion, and even that it generates a general distaste for our system of government. This social justice coalition cuts those claims down by calling for every arena owner to work with local officials to convert the space into voting facilities. They also plan to advertise for civic engagement during the NBA playoff, furthering the notion of constructive change from within.

This understanding of the importance of fellowship and solidarity can be found not only in the NBA but in all organized sports and particularly those here on the University of Dallas campus. Now more than ever in these times of change and upheaval, we recognize the importance of quick action for positive change and a conscious sense of cohesion and understanding.  As we pick up this strange season and semester, let us keep in mind the importance of cohesion, always keeping at the forefront our ultimate goal of a perfectly unified community.

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