Several Boston Celtics players have been leaders in calling for change and participating in peaceful protests in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis last week.
Celtics guard Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to his home state of Georgia to lead a peaceful protest in Atlanta. Celtics centers Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier, as well as guard Marcus Smart also took part in peaceful protests Sunday in Boston.
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Cedric Maxwell played for the Celtics from 1977-78 through 1984-85, and he's spent most of the last two decades as a radio analyst for the team. He's very happy that these Celtics players are stepping up in this crucial moment.
"I absolutely loved it. It was fascinating to see," Maxwell said on "Arbella Early Edition" on Tuesday night. "Jaylen Brown -- I love what he did, to drive down 15 hours going to Atlanta. The only thing that disappointed me about Jaylen Brown was the fact that he did not have a mask on. If you're going to lead, you've got to lead on every aspect.
"I have just marveled at that, the fact that you have our players, like my family, my kids, are doing something that's so positive that they don't have to do. And they're showing the fact that they're connected to this community. That to me, is just -- that's what it is supposed to be about. Players during my era, we weren't connected like that. Now that these guys live in a city, they live and breathe and do the same things the city does."
NBC Sports Boston Celtics Insider A. Sherrod Blakely isn't only impressed with the players doing their part to bring about change, he's encouraged by the message from coaches like Brad Stevens on how they can play their own role in fighting racial injustice.
"The thing that jumps out to me about the Celtics isn't so much the players who are stepping up, but those around them, the Brad Stevens' of the world," Blakely said. "On his call with reporters earlier today, the one thing he talked about that really kind of resonated with me were the conversations that he was having with other white coaches in the NBA. He talked about how they can't just have empathy for players -- the black players and black coaches and the assistants.
They have to be part of what drives change throughout this time. I thought that was really important for him to acknowledge that, that they can't just be on the sidelines saying, 'We feel so bad for you guys, we're so sorry.' No, you have to be part of the process that brings about change, and I think the simple acknowledgement of that being their role, that to me is the beginning of things turning around.
"When you look back at the Civil Rights movement back in the 1950s and 1960s, as much as Dr. Martin Luther King was at the forefront of that, there were a lot of white people who helped elevate that platform to another level. I think if we're going to get the kind of systemic change that we're talking about, that has to happen among the NBA family as well."