Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd which sparked a racial reckoning and had so many across the country protesting for social justice.

Floyd was killed when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, knelt on Floyd’s neck reportedly for nine minutes and 29 seconds. The national outcry, along with the deaths of many other African-Americans at the hands of white police officers, touched off a wave of protests across the country.

Partly because of Floyd’s murder, the National Basketball Coaches Association – in conjunction with the Obama Foundation and the Equal Justice Initiative – formed the Coaches For Racial Justice. In part, it focused on raising awareness and teaching the history of racial injustice, and working with local grassroots organizations to create a change in the market of all 30 NBA teams.

So what has happened in a year since Floyd’s murder?

“We’ve seen so many things,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “On the heels of that, it’s been well-documented the story about the NBA head coaches mobilizing and starting Coaches For Racial Justice and all the things that all of the head coaches have done, not only in their own markets with local grassroots organizations. But also with the Obama Foundation on a national level, with NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives) on a national level.

“Everything that happened in the bubble was sort of really geared toward the fight for racial justice. And it was universal. It was players, coaches, support staff, owners, media, and it was really an amazing experience on that level.”

Like Carlisle, Los Angeles Clippers coach Ty Lue believes the NBA has been at the forefront of making sure racial issues were addressed over the past year.

“I think (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver has done a terrific job,” Lue said. “I think our players and coaches have done a great job as well at just raising awareness and getting it out there and letting people see and understand the things that we’re trying to do and trying to build going forward.

“The NBA has done a great job and it started last year in the bubble, and it’s carried on. It hasn’t been forgotten. The guys are still talking about it, the NBA is still supportive and trying to raise awareness any way they can.”

Meanwhile, the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition released a statement on Monday on policing reform legislation that said they want the George Floyd Police Reform Act passed on a bipartisanship basis. The reform act serves as a way to honor the memory of Floyd and others who have been victims of police brutality, and would also ban choke holds and end qualified immunity for law enforcement.

“Today, as this painful anniversary approaches, we have an opportunity to honor the memory of Mr. Floyd and others who have been victims of police brutality in this country by passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Systemic problems demand systemic solutions,” the statement read. “And, because police actions are governed by a diverse array of state laws and local policies, the Floyd Act takes unprecedented strides towards consistency—reforming at a federal level the practices that failed its namesake.

“The bill already passed with a bipartisan vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and is now pending in the Senate where we hope it will have similar bipartisan support as it should and must. As Board Members of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition, representing the NBA, the Players Association, the Coaches Association, league staff, and teams in every region of the country, we are calling on our elected representatives of both parties to work together to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in the U.S. Senate now and present it to President Biden for him to sign into law this year.”

In so many ways, sports in general and the NBA in particular has been a catalyst for social justice. When Jacob Blake was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisc., on Aug. 23, the NBA playoff games in the bubble In Orlando were postponed for three days, including Game 6 between the Mavs and Clippers.

“Players got together and decided whether to continue to play,” Carlisle said. “And out of that came an agreement with the owners to really make an emphasis from that point forward on voter rights and attacking voter suppression and make as many NBA arenas available as voting centers as possible.

“At that point and time there were eight NBA arenas that were certified (as voting centers). A lot of NBA teams were getting stonewalled by their local counties to do so. But after that day going forward when the election came in November, 22 out of 30 (NBA arenas) had been certified and there was obviously a big swing in the vote, and the NBA and the NBA players had a lot to do with that. And that’s tied into social justice also in a big way.”

Indeed, a national conversation about social injustice was started over the past year, a sea change was made and some progress has occurred. But more work, those involved insists, needs to be done.

“Our awareness as a society has increased,” Carlisle said. “I wouldn’t even know how many fold in terms of awareness, but I would have so say exponentially.

“And so much good has happened. But obviously the work goes on.”

Fans in the house: Before his team lost Game 2 to the Mavs, 127-121, on Tuesday, Los Angeles Clippers coach Ty Lue talked about the large crowd his team will see when they play Games 3 nd 4 in Dallas on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

“Dallas going to have, 15, 16 thousand (fans),” Lue said. “But that shouldn’t deter us from what were trying to do and what we’re going to accomplish. It is what it is.”

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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