With NBA players sharing their thoughts on whether or not it is a good idea to resume the 2019-20 NBA season amid the Black Lives Matter protests and the social justice movements, former Trail Blazers fan favorite Ed Davis is voting for a return to the court.
Last Friday, more than 80 NBA players hopped on a conference call to discuss any and all concerns and hesitations about resuming the season. The call was led by Nets guard Kyrie Irving, as reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic.
A lot has come out of that Zoom call in the last few days. Ed Davis was one of the 80-plus players on the nearly two-hour-long meeting.
In a recent interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Davis opened up about why he believes the players should take the court if and when the season resumes in Orlando.
The 10-year NBA veteran feels that not restarting this season could also have big implications on next season and for the future of younger NBA players.
I know a lot of guys are iffy about playing. But it’s sort of bigger than that because if we don’t play, I honestly think there’s a chance that we won’t play next year. I just had a 2-month-old so of course I don’t want to go away for two months, but it’s just something I feel that we have to do to save the league and for all the people who came behind us and all the people who are going to come after us. This is coming from a 10-year vet; I’m on the back end of my career and I’ve made enough money, so it’s not really about the money. It’s more about the future guys – a guy like Donovan Mitchell, who is looking at a $160 million dollar contract but he might only get $90 million if the cap drops. -- Ed Davis in a recent interview with HoopsHype
And just because Davis is for playing in Orlando, doesn’t mean he isn’t still focused on the Black Lives Matter movement.
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Davis spent three seasons with Portland from 2015-18 serving as the backup big man and the spark plug off the bench.
Davis mentioned in the HoopsHype interview that he and former Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless used to take time to bring Portland police officers and black children together during their time in Portland.
I think you have to look at it from every player’s own perspective. For me, personally, I’m for the Black Lives Matter movement. I’ve always been for it. When I was in Portland, me and Moe Harkless would go through the inner cities and really try to get involved in police reform. We’d bring black kids and the police together, trying to help them find some common ground and gain respect for each other. Like I said, I’m all for that. -- Former Trail Blazer Ed Davis
Davis believes bringing live sports back could have an even bigger and more positive impact on the country’s social justice movement.
“I mean, this is really the only time that you’re going to get that and it’s the only time you’re going to get 22 teams together for seven weeks, so we can really get down and meet every couple of weeks and do some really cool things.” Davis said.
“There’s some really great stuff that we can do for the world. I feel like all of us doing it together and working with the NBA and working with these owners, we can really help out. For me, I want to fight against police brutality. That’s my cause; that’s really what I want to focus on. I hope that when we get down there, we can do that together.”
The Jazz big man also mentioned that donating to black communities and various organizations that promote and advocate change is how he and others in the NBA can truly make a difference.
I’m looking at it like: With where we’re at as a Black culture and how we’re so far behind when it comes to black people and the wealth we have, the money we have, us missing the rest of this season (and possibly next year), we’re talking about billions and billions of dollars for the black community because a lot of guys in the NBA are black men from the inner cities and things like that. So, the way I look at it, we have to play for that simple fact. I saw Stephen Jackson say that we can’t play because it’s going to be a distraction. Yeah, it’s going to be a distraction, but we can take that money – those billions and billions of dollars – that we’re going to make and pour it back in the community. You can look at it like that – that us losing out on that money would hurt generations of people.
For me, I make $5 million a year and I’m taking a 25-percent pay cut [due to COVID-19], so I’m losing around $30,000 every two weeks. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that’s what is creating generational wealth and that’s what is really going to help the Black community. I don’t know if guys are looking at it like that. But, that’s just my perspective and the reason why I think we need to play. I get it, we need to take a stand; we got to do this, we got to do that. But you got to have money to do some of these things and make some of these things happen. -- Jazz big man Ed Davis
The 31-year-old has already made a living with his workhorse mentality in the league.
Davis realizes that as a role player and not a superstar, his situation and many others situations are a bit different from the likes of Kyrie or Dwight Howard.
“It’s easy for a guy like Kyrie [Irving] to say that he’ll give everything back,” Davis continued. “But would he really give everything back? It’s easy for Dwight Howard to say that we don’t need to play when he’s in Atlanta in his $20 million mansion. But there are other guys on the rosters who need this money to provide for whoever they’re taking care of and things like that. It’s easy for the superstars in the league to say this and how they feel about this and that. But it means a lot more when it comes from the role players.”
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