As the Washington Wizards teamed up with the Mystics last summer to raise awareness for social justice matters and voter registration, their efforts caught the attention of a man who knows a little something about the cause.
Former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder joined Wizards Pregame Live on Wednesday night and explained how those efforts last year and the continued activism of players like Bradley Beal, Russell Westbrook and Natasha Cloud, he believes, are important and worth recognizing.
"I’m old enough now to be able to say this. I was proud of them. I was proud of the guys here in D.C., in particular, but more generally about the players in the NBA. LeBron [James] and all the folks have really used their voices, used the platform that they have to raise the consciousness for people around the country about the issues that people of color are facing in the United States; the problems of systemic racism, the problems with police abuse," Holder said.
Holder was in charge of the U.S. Department of Justice under President Barack Obama. He was the first Black man or woman to serve in the role.
But long before he made history and worked as the nation's top lawyer and legal advisor to the president, Holder grew up as a big sports fan in New York. The athletes who spoke out on societal issues when he was younger left an impression on him.
"It’s the kind of thing that maybe for too long athletes got away from that activist image. I grew up with Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Guys who were unafraid to take risks, to try to express themselves to move the nation in a better way. It is great to see these young NBA players embracing that heritage and using their voices to bring the nation along. So, as I said, I’m proud of them," Holder said.