Social-justice gestures have come with the territory during the NBA’s restart.
Teams like the Mavericks and Rockets all kneeled together during the national anthem Friday night, for instance.
Many players are wearing sayings on the backs of their jerseys, such as the Mavericks all having “Equality” on their backs, some in their native language.
It’s been a heartfelt show of support for racial justice. One of the Mavericks who won’t be playing in the final games of the regular season or playoffs, Dwight Powell, had a big hand in guiding the Mavericks toward the wording on the back of their shirts and the idea of kneeling pregame.
“For us, it was important to show solidarity with some of the conversations that are going on in this country outside this bubble about racial injustice, about equality – things we feel very strongly about,” he said on Saturday. “Obviously, we didn’t want to feel like being here took us out of those conversations. We think they’re very important and that a lot of people around the country and world are starting to investigate and educate themselves and have these conversations for the first time.
“The last thing we wanted to do was have our voices silenced or step out of that conversation regardless of how difficult it may be.”
So what did Powell think about San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, Orlando forward Jonathan Isaac and a few others around the league choosing not to kneel?
“That’s one of the greatest aspects of living here, whether you’re born here or not,” Powell said. “So I think however anyone in this league or anyone in general chooses to voice their opinion, that just speaks to the greatness of this country. And I think that’s something we should embrace.
“Everyone has things they feel strongly about. And I think as a league we’ve done a good job of supporting those voices. And even if they may seem like outliers, it’s important for them to be able to speak their minds. That’s important for us as a league and a country as well, to have that freedom to speak your mind.”
Rick Carlisle has helped his fellow NBA coaches continue the conversation of social justice, which became a global issue after the murder of George Floyd.
“Everything that’s happening here relative to social justice is really super-positive,” Carlisle said. “The important thing is to continue with it, continue to have these conversations, continue to talk about these events so we can understand and talk about horrible things that have happened in the past, deal with them and remind ourselves that these things cannot be allowed to continue.”
Licking their wounds: The Mavericks had a relatively light workout on Saturday after Friday’s overtime loss to Houston didn’t end until after midnight, Eastern time.
It was a tough loss to put behind them.
“Everybody’s disappointed, but we’re going to be determined to bounce back tomorrow night,” Carlisle said.
The Mavericks had to come to grips with the fact that they scored 149 points and still couldn’t come up with a win.
“Yesterday was tough,” said Dorian Finney-Smith. “We’re a great offensive team. We know that. But we just got to find ways to get more stops.”
Finney-Smith added that the Mavericks also can be a quality defensive team. “It’s just time to show it,” he said.