Chris Paul, Andre Iguodala Key To Saving NBA Season
With the NBA season very much in doubt, two players stepped up this week and made a pragmatic, logical case for resuming the NBA Playoffs.
Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Andre Iguodala of the Miami Heat provided voices of reason and stability during an emotional meeting on Wednesday night between players and coaches.
Earlier in the day, the Milwaukee Bucks initiated a spontaneous player-led strike after refusing to take the court for their game against the Orlando Magic. The four teams involved in two other games scheduled to take place after followed suit. Their joint boycott was a response to the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha police, which left the 29-year-old paralyzed.
The main topic of the evening’s conversation was whether to call off the NBA season. Every team still alive in the playoffs was in attendance, and there was a noticeable divide regarding how to proceed.
On one side you had LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, their respective teams arguing that the remaining games should be called off. On the other, you had a majority of players voting to resume play.
Sources: The Lakers and Clippers have voted to boycott the NBA season. Most other teams voted to continue. LeBron James has exited the meeting.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 27, 2020
It was at this point that Paul and Iguodala spoke out, explaining to all involved the financial ramifications of abruptly ending the year. More importantly, they also highlighted how much grander their platform for promoting change is when basketball is taking place versus when they are at home.
Paul’s sentiments stood out in particular after he highlighted that he had gotten every single one of his teammates on the Thunder registered to vote. Change mattered to him, and he was willing to do whatever it took to achieve it. He just wanted all the other players to have a big picture understanding of what their final decision would mean.
It was revealed in the meeting that CP3 got the entire OKC team registered to vote, according to sources.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) August 27, 2020
Iguodala has long been one of the NBA’s most respected veterans. Many younger players admire the savvy way he was able to utilize his access with the Golden State Warriors to establish a pathway into the tech sector. When he talks, particularly about money, others listen.
The steady, calming voices of Paul and Iguodala, along with Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, are largely responsible for pushing forth the idea that the NBA could continue play and still be socially responsible.
Chris Paul, Andre Iguodala Made An Impression
Although no resolution was reached on Wednesday night, players reassembled once again on Thursday morning. At that point, having had the night to consider what Paul and Iguodala said, all the dissenting voices who did not want the season to continue ultimately changed their minds.
In the end, players unanimously agreed to restart the NBA Playoffs.
NBA statement on the current state of the NBA playoffs: pic.twitter.com/h7auQknSKi
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) August 27, 2020
So What Comes Next?
A quiet truce has been established, but it remains to be seen how long it will last.
NBA games will resume this weekend, with all of the Game 5s that were postponed taking place on Saturday and Sunday.
At this stage it is unclear how much more the players will do to promote the sort of change they clearly want in society. They have already been very vocal about police brutality, racial injustice and the like. Presumably talk regarding those topics will only intensify.
Beyond that, it will be interesting to see what other measures are taken by the league.
One way or another, this matter isn’t going away. The NBA will need to make a move and take steps to show players that it is serious about being on their side. What will those steps ultimately look like? Time will tell.