In June, Avery Bradley decided against traveling with the Los Angeles Lakers to the Orlando bubble to stay with his family — specifically his son Liam, who has a history of respiratory problems. However, in the weeks leading up to Bradley’s decision, the possibility of him sitting out for the remainder of the season arose for a different reason.
During the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, Bradley and Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving formed a players coalition to express their concerns — on behalf of other players — about the NBA’s plan to restart the season, and how it would affect the momentum of the civil rights movement. Dwight Howard was also outspoken, but the Lakers were more confident that he’d play out the season than they were with Bradley at the end.
Now, Bradley finds himself in a similar situation with NBA set to start up again on Dec. 22. However, this time around, the league is giving him an official position to give his thoughts on how they can affect change.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Bradley will be part of the first-ever NBA Social Justice Coalition Board:
The NBA and NBPA agreed to create the Social Justice Coalition -- group to advance equality and social justice -- in aftermath of the Bucks leading teams walking out of games in late August. Adam Silver, Mark Tatum and Michele Roberts will also be on the Board, sources said. https://t.co/oZmRSHEDMa— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 9, 2020
While it’s unclear at this point what the responsibilities of the board for this coalition will be, the forming of the coalition is an example of the type of tangible change the players were hoping to see as a result of their strike in August. It might be a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction.
One thing is clear, though: The NBA doesn’t plan on leaving its fight for racial equality at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando — it’s a big part of the league now thanks in no small part to players like Bradley, Irving and Howard. They deserve as much credit, if not more credit, than the league for this progress.