It was mildly surprising to hear second-year guard Shake Milton take the strongest stance when it came to the NBA’s decision to resume the season.
I don’t really think we should be playing,” Milton said in a video conference call with reporters Tuesday, “but I think the NBA is doing all that they can to make the environment as safe as possible. My teammates want to play so we’re going to go down there and try to win.
When asked why specifically he thought the league shouldn’t resume play, he provided a poignant response.
I think [the spread of the virus], and then also I feel like there’s a lot of other stuff going on,” Milton said. “There are issues going on right now in the world that are way bigger than a sport, way bigger than the game of basketball. I feel like we’re on the cusp of finally having people tune in and really try to listen and try to understand more about the things that are happening in our country. I feel like the moment is too big right now and I don’t want the game of basketball to overshadow it.
Perhaps lost in the shuffle of so many things being shared on social media was Milton posting something that seemed a bit out of character for the soft-spoken 23-year-old.
I’ve been sitting here trying to digest everything that’s going on, and this shit is truly making me sick to my core. Tired of reading about names that all too soon become just a distant memory or a retweet. My people are tired. Enough is enough.— SHAKE (@SniperShake) June 1, 2020
Milton is a native of Owasso, Oklahoma, a northern suburb of Tulsa. The 23-year-old has shared various posts about the city and the Tulsa race massacre that occured in 1921 as well as posts about Breonna Taylor, the Louisville EMT who was fatally shot by police while sleeping in her apartment.
While he’s glad to see the league wants to keep the message in the public scope, he’s curious to know how they’ll do it.
I think [the NBA trying to highlight racial injustice is] good — I think we should definitely do it,” Milton said. “I want to know how we’re going to go about doing it, that’s really my concern. I heard ideas about the names on the back of the jerseys and putting stuff on the court, but I kind of want to see what the NBA is actually going to do. That’s cool and all, but that’s kind of like the same as having a T-shirt where you see somebody’s face and it says RIP on the back. That’s only going to take you so far. So I’m interested to see what else the NBA has planned and what else they’re going to do.
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