LeBron James and his Lakers opened up the shortened NBA season showing their support for Black Lives Matter, in their first game back since the COVID-19 shutdown. The King and others kneeled during the National Anthem.
The NBA’s official restart on July 30 showed all players taking to the court and kneeling during the National Anthem in support of Black Lives Matter and racial injustice. LeBron James led the way, along with the rest of the L.A Lakers and L.A. Clippers players, coaches and even game referees, as they all clasped arms and took a knee together. A recording of the anthem performed by the choir from the Compton Kids Club played, as the players all wore black long sleeved shirts with “Black Lives Matter” written across the front. It was a total show of unity by the NBA’s finest, after several months of nationwide protests following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In the game prior, all members of the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans also took a knee during the anthem.
All players, coaches and refs take a knee and lock arms during the national anthem before the Lakers-Clippers game. pic.twitter.com/eZ9RHE3eh7
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 31, 2020
LeBron, Anthony Davis and Co. will now try and pick up where they left off after a stellar regular season run before the shutdown. Ahead of the restart, LBJ seemed more focused than ever and locked in during scrimmages — all while fighting for justice for Breonna Taylor and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical worker, was fatally shot inside her Louisville home on March 13 by Louisville Metro Police Department officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove — all of whom have yet to be charged in her death, and only one has been fired.
About 20 minutes before tipoff, superstars from other teams including Dame Lillard, CJ McCollum, DeMar DeRozan, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and others showed up to watch the highly anticipated matchup between the LeBron’s Lakers and Kawhi Leonard‘s Clippers. The two teams will be the likely contenders for the Western Conference Finals, and since no fans are allowed inside the “bubble,” players from other squads masked up to watch the game go down in person.
The NBA finalized its official plan for a safe return inside the famed “bubble” — located in Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex — on June 26. The restart comes after the league postponed its season on March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the league will resume with a 22-team, eight-game wrap-up to the regular season, followed by a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed and playoffs.
This season is most likely LeBron’s best and last chance to win his fourth NBA title. In year 17 of his illustrious career, there’s no way of slowing down Father Time. Though, LeBron continues to amaze with his hold on speed, skill and his overall ability to lock in during near impossible situations. If his performance in the NBA restart is anything like we saw at the beginning of the season, then the Lakers have a promising chance at winning it all.