Last weekend, Los Angeles Lakers center (and yes, a one-time Wizard!) Dwight Howard wrote a statement that he has reservations regarding a restart of the 2019-20 NBA season.
Dwight Howard statement, provided by his agent, to CNN: pic.twitter.com/sk9uSSHlpp— Jill Martin (@ByJillMartin) June 14, 2020
This is the text of the statement:
“I agree with Kyrie (Irving). Basketball, or entertainment period, isn’t needed at this moment, and will only be a distraction. Sure it might not distract us the players, but we have resources at hand majority of our community don’t have. And the smallest distraction for them, can start a trickle-down effect that may never stop. Especially with the way the climate is now. I would love nothing more than to win my very first NBA Championship. But the unity of My People would be an even bigger Championship, that’s just too beautiful to pass up. What better time than now for us to be focusing on our families?
“This is a rare opportunity that, I believe, we as a community should be taking full advantage of. When have we ever had this amount of time to sit and be with our families? This is where our Unity starts. At home! With Family!! European Colonization stripped us of our rich history, and we have yet to sit down and figure us out. The less distractions, the more we can put into action into rediscovering ourselves. Nations come out of families. Black/African American is not a Nation or Nationality. It’s time Our Families became their own Nations. No Basketball till we get things resolved.”
As you might expect, that’s interesting for Howard to say, because he is playing on a title contender.
At the same time, we are living in a time of change. There have been protests in many American cities over the past three weeks since George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, and last week, Rayshard Brooks’ killing in Atlanta. Most NBA players are African Americans, and the issues of police brutality and racial inequality are things that directly affect them.
And though it wasn’t mentioned in Howard’s statement, the coronavirus pandemic has affected African Americans more adversely than White Americans, both in terms of cases and deaths.
Howard joins another notable player, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving as those who expressed concerns about the optics of restarting the NBA season.
The 2019-20 NBA season is expected to resume on July 31. The Washington Wizards are among 22 teams that will participate in eight regular season games to determine playoff seeding.