The Trail Blazers know they have a unique opportunity when play resumes.
This week, both Blazers coach Terry Stotts and Portland’s leader Damian Lillard spoke about their plans to not allow the NBA’s resumption to take away from the current social injustice movements.
“I don’t know if we’ll necessarily do anything as a team or not,” Stotts said Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t know the circumstances down in Orlando and how things are going to go, but I think the most important thing, personally, and I’m sure the players feel the same way, is that the conversation continues. We’ve got a great platform in Orlando… There will be a lot of media attention, obviously. So, I think that my message to the players is keep the conversation going.”
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Lillard, who attended a Black Live Matter march in Portland last month, believes the NBA has a real opportunity to use its platform to make statements and continue to support the black community when play resumes.
Obviously there will be a lot of eyes on us in Orlando. So I do agree with the fact that it’s an opportunity for us to make statements with the amount of people that’s going to be watching -- whether that’s together, before games, during games, after games, TV commercials, whatever that might be, I do see some opportunities in that. -- Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard
Our point guard 🖤 pic.twitter.com/6r0yxojcoc— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) June 5, 2020
Coach Stotts reiterated that it will be very important for the Trail Blazers and the NBA as a whole to continue the social injustice discussions.
I’ve spoken with all the players individually about it. I think the most important thing is that we keep the conversation going and I’ve been really proud of our guys and how they’ve supported the movement and how they’ve expressed themselves and how they approach social injustice, racial injustice. -- Blazers coach Terry Stotts
The 22 NBA teams participating in the restart in Orlando will travel to Florida between July 7-9. Training camp will begin once all 22 teams are in the ‘quarantine-bubble.’ The first slate of games are set to tip-off on July 30.
Portland will face Memphis in its first game of the restart on July 31.