Mike Scott

Mike Scott wants focus to remain on racial equality but thinks NBA jersey idea is 'terrible'

Mike Scott wants focus to remain on racial equality but thinks NBA jersey idea is 'terrible'

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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Sixers' Mike Scott supports new name for his favorite football team — and a new owner

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USA Today Images

Sixers' Mike Scott supports new name for his favorite football team — and a new owner

Mike Scott is a native of Chesapeake, Virginia, a one-time Washington Wizard and a longtime fan of the Washington football team.

He weighed in Monday on his favorite football team’s name, which the organization said Friday it is conducting a “thorough review” on. FedEx requested that the team change its name, while Nike removed all team apparel from its website. The team's current name is widely considered a slur against Native Americans. 

We’ve got some options," Scott said on a video call with reporters. "Red Tails is good. … They’ve been trying to change the name. I’m all for that — change it. S---, change the owner. If they want to change it and represent something else, that’s cool, that’s good. Like I said, I’m all about just doing it. If they want to change the name, I’m with that. Change the owner, too.

Dan Snyder has owned the franchise since 1999.

Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins has endorsed the Red Tails nickname. The famous Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black aviators in the United States Armed Forces, were known as the Red Tails. 

Scott attended the Eagles’ Week 1 matchup against Washington last season and got into a physical altercation with Eagles fans before the game who he said yelled slurs at him.

The 31-year-old forward has averaged 5.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in his second season as a Sixer. He’s earned a reputation as a genuine, no-nonsense character. 

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2020 NBA playoffs: What should the Sixers' playoff rotation look like?

2020 NBA playoffs: What should the Sixers' playoff rotation look like?

We’ve done plenty of looking back while the NBA season has been suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic. With the NBA’s Board of Governors approving a return-to-play format Thursday, we can now look ahead.

With eight regular-season games on the docket in the owners-approved plan, Brett Brown would have a short amount of time to answer several questions. One of the bigger ones will be about what he does with his playoff rotation.

Going into the 2019-20 season, the Sixers’ gargantuan starting lineup of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson and Al Horford was supposed to play “smash mouth offense and bully ball defense," according to Brown. Because of injuries and a clunky fit, that hasn’t come to fruition.

Though Brown brought Horford off the bench for three games, the head coach has been insistent on wanting to give the Embiid-Horford pairing a chance to work. He’ll have serious work to do if he wants to make that happen before the team reaches the playoffs.

A more likely scenario would seem to be the offensive fit proving to be too awkward and Brown moving in a different direction. In that case, Shake Milton may be the team’s best option as the fifth starter. Filling in for Simmons, Milton had an outstanding run as the team’s starting point guard. Adding him to the mix would give the Sixers another ball handler and shooter in the starting five.

Glenn Robinson III, Furkan Korkmaz and rookie Matisse Thybulle could also be candidates. If Brown is searching for more of a veteran presence, Robinson could be a solution. Korkmaz, Thybulle and veteran Alec Burks all seem to be better options off the bench.

It’s not an easy thing to ask a five-time All-Star to come off your bench for the playoffs, but Brown may be left with little recourse.

Horford could prove to be a valuable sixth man. Brown likened Horford’s situation to that of Manu Ginobili’s in San Antonio. Ginobili, a two-time All-Star, was still a huge part of the Spurs’ run of dominance as an elite sixth man. 

Arguably the Sixers’ finest hour was a win over the Clippers before the All-Star break. On that night, Embiid and Simmons clicked more than ever before, mostly with Horford on the bench. Horford did help close out the game and put a lid on L.A. defensively in an impressive win.

Beyond Horford, Brown has something he didn’t have during last season’s playoffs: Options.

Throughout the 2019 playoff run, Mike Scott and James Ennis were the only reliable reserves. Ennis is gone and Scott has been inconsistent. That’s part of what prompted GM Elton Brand to make the move to acquire Robinson and Burks from the Warriors.

Basically, Brown is looking at three veterans and three young players. Robinson and Burks lack playoff experience but have much more NBA experience than Korkmaz, Thybulle and Milton.

Though he's struggled since arriving, Robinson has had an excellent shooting season and is a solid defender. Burks is instant offense off the bench and provides another ball handler and shot creator. Korkmaz has had an improbable bounce-back season and allows the team to run its “JJ Redick” package. Thybulle has proven to be a disruptive — albeit at times a little reckless — defender.

You also can't forget about Scott. He was beginning to come on before the season was suspended. He brings toughness and has hit big shots in the past, two important things in playoff basketball.

Brown likes to play 10 guys in his rotation during the regular season. He said back in February that he'd like for that number to go down to nine for the postseason. Well all know Embiid, Simmons, Harris, Richardson and Horford will play big minutes. That leaves four spots and six players vying for them.

If nothing else, the bench “tournament” over the last eight regular-season games could provide drama for a team that never seems to be lacking in that department.

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