'It was special': Chris Paul on Thunder's Black Lives Matter protest
There had been eight games played on both Thursday and Friday before the Thunder tipped off against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, so by the time the contest came around, many assumed that the Thunder and Jazz would follow the example of their brethren and kneel during the national anthem before the game.
Before tip-off, despite a local Oklahoma-based lawmaker warning the team of potential repercussions for taking a knee during the national anthem, the Thunder joined the Jazz, the game’s officials and personnel from each team in taking a knee while wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts.
Although the majority of the league’s players opted to express themselves in a similar manner in days prior, the image remains powerful. And the moment wasn’t lost on NBPA President Chris Paul.
“It was special,” Paul told reporters after the contest. “To be able to do that together, as a team. and to do it right there in front of ‘Black Lives Matter…'”
While the protests may not be welcomed as a form of expression for all, the NBA and its players knew that they wanted their calls for political changes and social justice reform to have a prominent place in the league’s contests.
“As players, we had a lot of conversations about coming down here, the bigger reasons of what we’re playing for. So to do it on a united front was nice,” Paul said.
Many of the league’s players have also opted to take the NBA up on an offer ...
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