After the Bucks decided to strike their game against the Magic, other teams followed suit. Then an emergency meeting was called, and there was some dissent amongst the players. According to reporting, LeBron James led a group of players in challenging the Bucks for deciding to strike without coordination with other players and teams. Others, such as Jaylen Brown, supported them and said that it wasn’t necessary. In the end, a poll was conducted, and we found out there were two groups – both LA teams were in favor of ending the season, while other teams wanted to play on.
This was not a final decision. The players in the bubble and the NBA Board of Governors will have an 11 a.m. meeting to discuss further steps. During last night’s meeting, the NBPA explained the financial ramifications of stopping the season, both in terms of revenue loss for this season and a likely lockout and CBA negotiation for next season. As before, the main question is – what do the players want to achieve? What is the plan? Chris Paul stressed that whatever that is, it is crucial for players to be unified.
We have two groups with different ideas on how to fight for equality. One of the people that gave an impassioned speech last night was Chris Webber, who eloquently made several points important for players to hear and, in the end made an impassioned plea to them.
“I keep hearing the question, ‘What’s next?’ Well, you gotta plan what’s next. You gotta figure out what’s next. I’m very proud of the players. I don’t know the next steps. Don’t really care what the next steps are, because the first steps are to garner attention. They have everybody’s attention around the world right now.”Chris Webber, NBA on TNT
Webber posited out everyone understands that whatever the players decide to do, and no matter how specific their plan is, the problems won’t magically go away. Sometimes a gesture can be as important as a detailed plan. Chris Webber knows that first hand.
“Charles Barkley came to my high school. Just seeing him in the locker room, seeing his hands, seeing his body – that inspired me. You can’t be something until you see it.”Chris Webber, NBA on TNT
NBA players have that power, to inspire a broad group of people. Since the Bucks decided not to come out, over a quarter of a million tweets came out on the topic. There are more qualified people to suggest specific action – a lot of players are partnering with them and funding their work. Just because they don’t have all the answers, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do anything. Given the reaction of a lot of important people around the US and the world, there’s a lot of educating that needs to get done. Webber painted that picture very clearly.
“I have a godson that has Autism, and I had to explain to him why we aren’t playing. I have young nephews that I had to talk to about death before they’ve even seen it in a movie. If not now, when?”Chris Webber, NBA on TNT
The crucial question players will have to answer is “What do we want to achieve?” They have great power in making gestures, drawing attention. Not is the time to direct that attention to something. It doesn’t have to be a magical solution; we all know it can’t be. But that doesn’t mean they don’t do anything. In the end, Webber talked directly to the players.
“We understand it’s not gonna end. But that does not mean, young men, that you don’t do anything. Don’t listen to these people telling you ‘don’t do anything because it’s not going to end right away.‘ You are starting something for the next generation, and the next generation to take over. Do you have to be smart? Yes. Do you have to make sure that you have a plan? Yes. Do you have to be articulate about that plan? Yes. They are professionals, and they know how to be the best of themselves. It is the young people leading the way, and I applaud them.”Chris Webber, NBA on TNT
So far, the players and the league led the way. We hope they continue to do so together.