Trail Blazers

Carmelo Anthony and CJ McCollum understand the price of progress

Trail Blazers
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The NBA is looking to create more awareness of social issues through thought-provoking discussions and more planned events in the Orlando bubble.

The last two days have been spent meeting and discussing action plans in hopes of making changes across a wide range of topics from police brutality to systematic racism.

Following the Milwaukee Bucks' Game 5 boycott against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin last weekend, the NBA is once again on the forefront of activism.

Friday marked the first time players and coaches were made available to the media since the boycotted games.  

It’s a daily fight. -- Carmelo Anthony on working to make change in America

Friday morning, Thunder point guard and current NBPA President Chris Paul said, "It's definitely been a very emotional past couple of days, not only for myself, but everyone… I've got to give a lot of credit to our players. It's been a hard time. Everyone's shouldering a lot, but the communication that [we're] having is amazing.”

Being in the bubble, isolated from the world, has taken a toll on players mentally. From impactful to strenuous, NBA players have felt a wide array of emotions after games were postponed. Since then, they've put all their attention to social reform. 

What’s been happening lately, obviously, with Jacob Blake and what happened in Milwaukee, what’s continued to happen to Black unarmed men, Black and Brown unarmed men and women in America it’s really sad and it’s disheartening. It definitely effects your mood. It effects how you feel from a day-to-day standpoint. -- Trail Blazers CJ McCollum

 

McCollum was named NBPA Vice President in 2018. Friday, he continued to echo what Chris Paul had explained about the players' communication being so vital in their work to create change. 

Paul has been President of the NBA Players Association since 2013 and on the executive committee since 2009. 

[RELATED]: CJ McCollum 'extremely confident' in the plan NBA and its players have built

Game 5 between the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers has officially been rescheduled for Saturday at 6:00pm PST. The game will air on NBCSNW. But as NBA players took a unified stand this week, McCollum believes that the Bucks deserve a lot of credit because they “sparked a lot of thought across America, across the rest of the world.”

“We stood behind the Milwaukee Bucks and continue to stand behind them. We’re really happy with what we were able to come up with in 48 hours in terms of change that we can make… Especially starting with voting… The George Floyd Bill – some of those things that we can make more people aware of going forward,” McCollum said. 

McCollum added he wasn't in favor of leaving the bubble because of "a responsibility and obligation to use our platform, to take advantage of our situation as NBA players."

Was I in favor of leaving? No, I wasn’t... If we would’ve voted to leave, I would’ve been on board with it because as a member of the Executive Committee we have to do what’s best for the masses and in the event that the masses decided to leave, we would’ve done that.  

Now, the games are scheduled to go on and the Trail Blazers find themselves in a 3-1 hole. But, that hasn't completely become secondary. 

This is a tough situation and no excuses, but what we’re dealing with right now is bigger than basketball, so it’s going to be very difficult to try and wrap our minds around everything that’s going on and focus on the things that’s going on that’s effecting our community and then go out there and play basketball. 

It’s a thin line between the two. But we have to do it, we gotta go out there -- we have to play. There’s no time to give up now, we’ve gotta continue to fight this fight. -- Trail Blazers veteran Carmelo Anthony   

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]