Former Sacramento Kings star Chris Webber has found a very successful second career calling NBA games for TNT and NBA TV. On Wednesday, he used that platform to call for social change.
As the NBA again dove headfirst into the battle for racial equality and change in America, Webber took the mic for the boycotted game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic and delivered an impassioned speech.
“If not now, when?” Webber asked while fighting back emotions. “If not during a pandemic and countless lives being lost, if not now, when? That’s just all I want to hear. For the rest of the night while people are pontificating and thinking and soapboxing, and all of that, we know nothing is going to change. We get it.”
“If Martin Luther King got shot and risked his life and Medgar Evers ... if we’ve seen this in all of our heroes, constantly taken down, we understand it’s not going to end,” Webber added. “But that does not mean young men, that you don’t do anything. Don’t listen to these people telling you don’t do anything because it’s not going to end right away. You are starting something for the next generations and the next generation to take over. Do you have to be smart? Yes. Do you have to have a plan? Yes. Do you have to be articulate about that plan? Yes.”
Webber’s impassioned support of the players is another layer to add to the conversation. The 47-year-old is widely respected around the league and he has a strong historical understanding of the fight that is currently taking place.
Before the NBA bubble began in Orlando, the players made it clear that they intended to further the conversation of racial equality and social change in America and not distract from the momentum that had been built.
With another police officer-involved shooting of a Black man, this time in Kenosha, Wisconsin, protests again filled American streets. Led by the Bucks, NBA players decided to pause the playoffs, at least momentarily.
Discussions are planned for Wednesday evening and Thursday morning to determine what is next for the league.