Following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin back in August, it became unclear whether the NBA playoffs would be completed.
The Bucks became the first professional sports team to boycott their playoff game in protest. The Lakers, Thunder, Rockets, and Trail Blazers all followed suit. It was unclear if the players would return to the court and it was not until former United States President Barack Obama stepped in that progress was made.
Speaking on LeBron James‘ HBO show “The Shop,” the 44th president in U.S. history detailed the phone in which he pushed for players to urge the NBA to take a proactive effort in social justice issues, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.
“I think it was close to midnight when Chris (Paul), CP, calls with LeBron, Carmelo (Anthony), I think Russ Westbrook was on the phone, and the conversation we had was along the lines LeBron spoke about,” Obama said. “Protest is useful in terms of raising awareness, but given the power that the NBA players had, my suggestion was that we use that platform to see if you can start asking for some specifics. This isn’t something that’s just a one-off. That’s sadly what we’ve seen, as it happens again and again.
“So, one of the suggestions I had for the players was: Is it possible for you guys to set up an office that allows you, on an ongoing basis, to take best practices that are going to start making incidents like [Blake] less likely?”
James, who ended up capturing his fourth career NBA championship and Finals MVP after play resumed, noted that he and the rest of the players within the campus were prepared to leave.
“There was a time where we were ready to leave too — the Lakers. Myself included, we were ready to leave,” James said. “And we were trying to figure out if we leave or if we stay, what is our plan, what is our call for action? And I’m lucky enough to have a friend, the 44th President, that allowed me and allowed CP and allowed us to get on the phone with him and get guidance.”
Within days, the NBA and NBPA announced the creation of a social justice coalition that would help people access voting, increase civic engagement, and advocate for reforms that could help prevent shootings, such as the Blake tragedy.
19 thoughts on “Barack Obama Details Call With NBA Players That Saved Season”
Anytime we actually get close to actually enacting real change, Obama steps in.
Trump much worse, but they are all awful, nightmare people. Why can’t we have a leader who isn’t a power mad lunatic for once?
It’s called politicians. Most of them are corrupt and immoral people.
Agreed. Obama is a Bulwark for the status quo. This phone call with the players is very similar to the ones in the primaries he made to get all candidates to drop out and endorse Biden.
The NBA players work stoppage might’ve inspired others so Obama swooped in to kill any momentum.
No normal person would want to be a politician, it takes a certain type of person usually a narcissist to actively seek out these positions.
What would of happened if the NBA players never played another game in 2020? How would that have changed police brutality?
Anytime you need someone to explain something good Obama did, you can always count on Obama.
Reminder Lebron still hasn’t condemned China and his shoes are still being made in the Uighur camps.
Thanks for the reminder! I think your comment might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and now LeBron will go to an American cobbler like the rest of us
2nd amendment means nothing, ask the mods
You mean 1st amendment?
Which amendment was the alcohol one again?
Sad it had to come to Obama cheering the players up to save the season. NBA is one giant hypocrisy with their lecturing us on how bad America is while ignoring a certain country across the Pacific Ocean for huge profits.
I think that this is pretty cool. Interesting to see the sad sacks have a hard time with Obama providing support to the players. Turns out they did the right thing by not walking away (which would have been an utter fiasco) and at least trying to use their platform in a positive way to create change. Maybe you didn’t watch the games in the bubble, but there were a whole bunch of different amazing and empowering statements made in favor of BLM and racial justice…I don’t think BO cares about whether people know about this, the conversation was clearly driven by LeBron as content for his show…
Lol! Great article. I love satire!
Barack Obama is the greatest, just ask him and he will tell you!
Props to Obama for taking that energy and turning it into something long-standing.
I do wonder what the NBA players were thinking would they happen to never play another game in 2020? How would that change things? It’s not the NBA that writes or finances these laws.