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Members of the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets kneel around a Black Lives Matter logo during the national anthem before the start of an NBA basketball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Ashley Landis/AP
Citizenship

NBA to Convert Stadiums Into Voting Sites and Launch 'Social Justice Coalition'


Why Global Citizens Should Care: 
The United Nations calls on the United States to end the ongoing police violence against Black people and build a more equitable society overall. You can join us in taking action on related issues here

The National Basketball Association's players union agreed on Friday to resume the 2020 playoffs on the condition that a vast social justice program be implemented, which includes the conversion of empty basketball stadiums into voting sites for the 2020 presidential election on Nov. 3. 

The agreement also calls for the establishment of a "social justice coalition" that will work to increase voter turnout, improve civic engagement, and advocate for social justice causes such as ending police brutality. Throughout the remainder of the season, advertising slots will be partly used to promote voter participation. 

Take Action: Check Your Voter Registration Status With 'Just Vote' Here

“We had a candid, impassioned, and productive conversation yesterday between NBA players, coaches, and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality,” a joint statement from the NBA and the player’s union reads.

The announcement follows a groundbreaking players’ strike on Aug. 25 in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and an outpouring of grief and outrage by the league’s most notable figures, who said they had to take a stand against police violence.

The strike rippled across the sports world. Soon, the Women’s National Basketball Association joined — the players of which have a long history of speaking out about social justice — along with teams from Major League Baseball. 

The 2020 NBA season already featured heightened levels of activism and advocacy. 

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the league moved all games to a sprawling facility in Orlando, Florida.

All of the players' jerseys now feature words and phrases of social justice, including “We Can’t Breathe,” “Respect Us,” and “Equality.”

The courts also have “Black Lives Matter” painted along the side, a constant reminder of the political struggle taking place in streets across the US as protesters seek systemic change and the end of police violence. 

Players such as Lebron James, Chris Paul, and Kyrie Irving have been outspoken in their advocacy

The NBA has long been known as the most politically engaged sports league in the US. Adam Silver, the commissioner of the league, along with coaches and team owners have thrown their support behind the Black Lives Matter movement

The latest announcement suggests that the league will only intensify its engagement with pressing social concerns in its pursuit of a more equal and just world. 

Related Stories June 2, 2020 7 Ways You Can Take Action for Racial Justice Right Now


Global Citizen and HeadCount have teamed up to launch Just Vote, a campaign mobilizing young Americans to register to vote ahead of the 2020 election and beyond. As part of the campaign, your favorite artists and entertainers are offering exclusive experiences, performances, and memorabilia — and they can only be unlocked once eligible voters check their voter registration status. Learn more about Just Vote and how you can take action here.

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