The NBA has taken a leading role in fighting for social justice and encouraging people to vote ahead of the upcoming November Presidential election, with players around the league continuing to lend their voices for change.
Socially distanced at six feet apart in an airplane hangar, Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, and Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris came together for a roundtable with California senator and Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris on the first episode of "Remaking America" to discuss several key issues.
Enjoyed sitting down with @NBA players @CJMcCollum, @spidadmitchell, and @tobias31 to discuss critical issues facing our country-including the power your vote holds in this election. Watch our conversation:https://t.co/cFdmQhuE4v- Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) October 20, 2020
In a wide-ranging conversation, they tackle a myriad of topics including the importance of voting, law enforcement, education reform, and the importance of using their voices and platforms for change.
"No voice is too little," Mitchell said. "I think the great thing about the league is we were making a huge push to go out and vote, focusing on education, finding ways to at least inform and give back to the community.
"My mom being a teacher, she's instilled that in me. But that was really one of the biggest things for me coming into the bubble - the play was going to take care of itself, but I wanted to be able to give back that knowledge. That's really what carries and goes a long way."
McCollum who wore the words "Education Reform" on the back of his jersey while inside the NBA bubble, stressed the importance of pushing education.
"I think one of the reasons why we're here is to have those types of conversations to drive education to the masses because a lot of times, people don't feel like they can create change," McCollum said.
Mitchell, whose mother is a school teacher echoed those sentiments, calling for education equality.
"There are some friends I went to private school with who have no idea what's happening 45 minutes away in the projects, in certain areas. No idea how certain people live. And vice versa," Mitchell began.
"...I'm 24, and there are people way older than me who don't even know what Juneteenth is. Or Black Wall Street. And I'm informing them. I always wonder, if we want to get to the ultimate goal of equality - whether it's through education or systemic racism or voter suppression, whatever it is - the best thing we can do is inform. There's no way a kid in the Bronx shouldn't receive the same education - because of where he goes to school - as a kid in Connecticut. So, what is the Biden/Harris plan to help that?"
From the on-court messaging to pre-game kneeling, NBA players ensured that while they were in the bubble, the message was not lost as the country continued to protest police brutality and racial injustice, with specific focus on the Breonna Taylor case, which saw none of the officers involved in the fatal shooting charged.
"For me in the bubble, with everything going on with us, trying to really bring attention to the Breonna Taylor case," he said. "And to get the result that we did, it made me personally feel like we're bringing all this type of attention and we get a bad result.
"There are so many Breonnas and George Floyds, we all know that," Harris added. "The thing that has made this issue much more in the public sphere is smartphones. So now people are seeing what we've been knowing forever, but maybe didn't have witnesses. So, having leadership that speaks the truth about it and then what do we do in terms of reforms."
Earlier this month, Chris Paul, the President of the players' union, said more than 90% of NBA players had registered to vote, while 21 NBA arenas are being utilised as voting centres.
Chris Paul, president of @TheNBPA, announces that "over 90 percent" of the league is registered to vote and 15 NBA teams are 100 percent registered. pic.twitter.com/pL9ejKxXq3- The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) October 5, 2020
McCollum further stressed the importance of getting out and voting, urging others to exercise their right to fight for the change they want to see.
"As African American men, we feel like we have a responsibility," McCollum said. "I just want to encourage people to continue to go out and vote. I think that's big."
You can watch the full episode of "Remaking America" here.