Ernie Kent urges other leagues to follow in NBA's footsteps with voting opportunities


There is no denying the impact that the NBA platform has on the world. 

After Kenosha, Wisconsin resident Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by white police officers, the Milwaukee Bucks elected to boycott their scheduled playoff game against the Orlando Magic. The Magic agreed and the first domino fell. Soon after, the rest of the NBA in Orlando, Florida followed. There were no games played for three straight days. 

The players held meetings about a course of action following the boycotts and several points were agreed upon by the NBA: Establishing a social justice coalition that will focus on increasing access to voting, civic engagement and meaningful police and criminal justice reform; converting facilities into voting locations; and include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game.

Former Oregon basketball head coach Ernie Kent joined the latest episode of ‘Race In America’ to discuss the benefit of transforming arenas across the league into voting locations this election season.

“The fact that they can get owners to say we are going to open up our arenas, in the middle of a pandemic where people now have an opportunity to be indoors in line - with restrooms, air conditioning, maybe even feed them - and an opportunity to vote.

I think that’s the thing that transcends across all sports. It’s about giving people an opportunity to vote.

Ernie Kent on 'Race In America'

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon with special guest Brooke Olzendam].

[RELATED]: Ernie Kent wants to see more opportunities for Black coaches in the NCAA


But it doesn’t have to stop at just the NBA.

Kent hopes that all professional leagues as well as at the college level inherits this way of thinking and directs that into a plan of action.

I just think they have set the bar for every coach and athlete to use their platform to involve others to vote, to be a part of something special. 

Ernie Kent on 'Race In America'

[RELATED]: Pac-12 to help student-athletes with voter registration, mail-in ballots 

Watch more in the video above with Ernie Kent on the latest Race In America episode.