Avery Bradley, who co-leads the players’ coalition along with Kyrie Irving, spoke with Malika Andrews and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com to outline what the group would like to see done before the NBA resumes its season.
Among the priorities is the improved hiring practices for black front office and head coaching positions in the NBA. Bradley also suggested that the league’s front offices should better reflect its composition of players. Currently, there are just eight black general managers – including only four that have final say on basketball decisions – and seven black head coaches.
“Regardless of how much media coverage will be received, talking and raising awareness about social injustice isn’t enough,” Bradley said. “Are we that self-centered to believe no one in the world is aware of racism right now? That as athletes, we solve the real issues by using our platforms to speak?
“We don’t need to say more. We need to find a way to achieve more. Protesting during an anthem, wearing T-shirts is great, but we need to see real actions being put in to the works.”
Another priority is which organizations the league does business with and which foundations it provides donations to. The black community should be better represented in those areas, Bradley argues. Additionally, Bradley calls for the owners to stand behind the players. The Lakers guard hopes that the league’s owners will follow the charitable work of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Hornets owner Michael Jordan. Both made substantial contributions in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“I agree [the] Orlando [restart] will give the players checks to contribute back into their communities,” Bradley said. “But how much of that bubble check are players actually able to contribute? Why [is] all of the responsibility being put on the players?”
Bradley added that he hasn’t seen a plan from the NBA for league-wide action.
“Don’t put all of the weight on your player to take care of the issue,” Bradley said. “If you care about us, you can’t remain silent and in the background.”
Other players are behind Irving and Bradley, though the ESPN duo notes that many are reluctant to speak out for fear of backlash.
“The actual act of sitting out doesn’t directly fight systemic racism,” Bradley said. “But it does highlight the reality that without black athletes, the NBA wouldn’t be what it is today. The league has a responsibility to our communities in helping to empower us — just as we have made the NBA brand strong.”