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The NBA Can Come Back Now. Should It?

FiveThirtyEight   More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code Hot Takedown talked last week about what the NBA’s restart would look like, but not all of its players seem ready to return. We discuss the concerns raised by Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving after a call with 80 other players on the Orlando bubble system and whether playing games will distract from the important cultural conversations happening right now around racial justice and inequality. Irving, who is also a players association vice president, has a reputation in the NBA universe that may be affecting how people perceive his leadership on this issue, but he may also be using his voice to advocate for and shield less well-known players with similar, and very legitimate, concerns. We don’t necessarily think there’s a right answer to whether playing games and drawing attention on the court to vital issues like police brutality and racial justice is more powerful than not playing and making space for activists where sports otherwise would be. But since it seems like the NBA will restart regardless, we think it’s important to have these conversations that center the players’ concerns. It will strengthen their ability to make an impact on what the league does — and what the public sees.

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