Adam Silver Reiterates NBA's Opportunity To Effect Social Change
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expressed his commitment to using the league as a platform for social change at CAA's Amplify virtual Town Hall yesterday. "Some of the best known black people in the world -- whether it be the NBA or the WNBA -- play in our league," Silver said. "I really think there is a unique opportunity for this league, maybe more so than any institution in the world. But what comes with it is obligation and responsibility to think before we speak." CAA held the special, virtual edition of its diversity and inclusion event Amplify to address systemic racism and speakers included thought leaders in the worlds of entertainment, business, sports and social justice. Silver said he has had extensive conversations with NBPA Exec Dir Michele Roberts, NBPA Foundation Exec Dir Sherrie Deans, NBPA President and Thunder G Chris Paul, as well as many other individual NBA players on how to battle systemic racism. "What we talked about and acknowledged to each other is we would probably be most powerful through collective action," Silver said. He added they are still in the talking stage and that the conversations would not go on for months, but maybe for weeks, on how the league and the players could be most effective.
OPPORTUNITY FOR PLAYERS: Some players, such as Lakers C Dwight Howard, have said they do not want to return to the NBA at a time when racial injustice has taken over the spotlight. Silver reiterated his position that players who do not want to return at Disney World would not be penalized. But he said if the NBA is able to tip off on July 30, as planned, there will be opportunities for players there to engage and talk about what the league and the players, collectively, can do. "When we are there, we will have 350 players in one place," Silver said. "Players will be together. Obviously, they will have a lot of time on their hands," he said. But it will also give players and the league an opportunity to talk about and think about a plan for change. Silver said that bringing in outside speakers and experts, either virtually, on in-person, to the campus is a possibility.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Silver said he has watched what other institutions have done to respond to the global movement, such as setting up foundations and announcing initiatives. "It's incumbent on us to be thoughtful here," Silver said. "I think that requires a little bit of study and work." Other speakers at the event from the sports world included Trail Blazers F Carmelo Anthony. Clippers coach Doc Rivers spoke about one of his mentors, former college basketball coach George Raveling, who was at Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech. Raveling was then a player at Villanova and did not want to go, but his uncle convinced him to go and see King speak. Raveling did not just go, but ended up working security and was right next to King during the speech. After the speech, he asked King if he could have a written copy of it and King gave it to him, Rivers relayed. "Think about it, for all of us," Rivers said. "One person can change your life. And you can make a difference in someone else's life."