As the Sixers have made more players available leading up to the NBA’s attempt at a restart, we’ve gotten a little perspective on the idea of the “bubble” and playing games with no fans in Disney World.
Players have talked about the global pandemic and protests against racial inequality and police brutality continuing in the country. While there’s been a couple concerns raised, you can’t help but wonder if we’re getting the players’ true feelings on the entire situation.
If there’s one thing we’ve come to know about Mike Scott, it’s that you’ll never be left wondering what he was thinking after he speaks. In a video conference call with reporters Monday, Scott voiced serious concerns over returning to play.
Yeah,” Scott said when asked if it’s hard to get excited to play again. “Just trying to change your mentality from what’s going on and being with your family and making sure they’re safe and racism, coronavirus, and then turn and switch it on to go to Orlando and playing basketball. Easier said than done.
"Most people would [think] it should be pretty easy, just think about basketball, but I don’t know, man. It’s tough. Just thinking about it after what’s gone on the past couple months. I’ve been dealing with that and just trying to work out every day, get my mind ready for Orlando, but at the same time how can you not look and focus on everything else that’s going on? It’s definitely tough.
While always honest, Scott is generally one of the more positive players on the team. He’s always good for a quote that’ll get people talking and for his brutally honest assessments of how he played.
Monday’s media session was sobering. It was obvious in the 15 or so minutes that he spoke with reporters that he still has a lot of raw emotion in the wake of the death of George Floyd and similar incidents that have occurred around the country.
A lot of anger, disappointment,” Scott said. “Just questioning a lot of stuff like, ‘What’s going on in this world? How can people be so evil?’ Just a lot of anger, man. Mostly just anger. Using my platform … I’m more reserved, laid back, and I’m more of let’s just do it instead of just talking about it. Just go out there and just do it. … There was a lot of anger and [I'm] still angry.
Health and safety concerns are paramount to the NBA’s return, but so too is making sure that in a league made up of predominantly Black athletes, the voices of the players are heard. Several players expressed concern of an NBA return taking away from racial equality causes.
The league will reportedly try to help players “call attention to racial equality, social justice and police brutality.” “Black Lives Matter” will reportedly be painted on all three courts in Disney World, according to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Zach Lowe.
Another step the league is reportedly taking is allowing players to have messages on the back of their jerseys instead of their last names. The phrases come from an approved list of 29 agreed upon by the NBA and NBPA, per Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated.
Scott isn’t sure what the best way to keep spreading these messages is, but he’s not a fan of the jersey idea. He wishes the players could’ve had more input.
They gave us some names and phrases to put on the back of jerseys,” Scott said. “That was terrible. It was a bad list, bad choice. They didn’t give players a chance to voice their opinion on it. They just gave us a list to pick from. That was bad. That’s terrible. Just voice your opinion, how you feel.
“I don’t know how you can use your platform. I don’t know. Vote. Of course, vote. See what laws we can change. But I’m all about just doing, instead of just saying or posting or putting something on the back of your jersey. I don’t think that’s going to stop anything. I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know.
While Scott is glad to have his teammates to lean on, he still can’t help but be affected by what’s happening outside his own bubble.
“A lot of dialogue with teammates and coaches, especially with Tobias [Harris],” Scott said. “He’s been keeping us together and me and him have been talking every day about what’s going on in the world. It’s just a lot of frustration. Just a terrible time, a crazy time right now.”
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