Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving made headlines on Friday when reports surfaced that he led an 80-player conference call, expressing why he believes the NBA season should not return amid the social justice movement following the death of George Floyd.
Dwight Howard was one of the players on the call, and the Lakers center voiced his support for Irving.
LeBron James, Howard's current teammate and Irving's former teammate, did not join the call, stating he believes that resuming the NBA season will not interfere with the Black Lives Matter movement and his ability to enact change in society.
While James and Howard have differing opinions on whether the league should resume, there's "no divide" between Lakers players, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin.
"Still have some time to figure things out as a league and as a team," one Lakers player said to ESPN.
Howard released a long statement via his agent on Friday explaining why as much as he wants to win his first championship, he doesn't want to play basketball until "we get things resolved."
I agree with Kyrie. Basketball, or entertainment period, isn't needed at this moment, and will only be a distraction. Sure it might not distract us the players, but we have resources at hand [the] majority of our community don't have. And the smallest distraction for them, can start a trickle-down effect that may never stop. Especially with the way the climate is now. I would love nothing more than to win my very first NBA championship. But the unity of my people would be an even better championship, that's just too beautiful to pass up. What better time than now for us to be focusing on our families? This is a rare opportunity that, I believe, we as a community should be taking full advantage of. When have we ever had this amount of time to sit and be with our families? This is where our unity starts. At home! With family!! European colonization stripped us of our rich history and we have yet to sit down and figure us out. The less distractions, the more we can put into action into rediscovering ourselves. Nations come out of families. Black/African-American is not a nation or nationality. It's time our families become their own nations. No basketball till we get things resolved.
Clippers guard Patrick Beverley weighed in on the discussion Sunday night, tweeting that if James wants to play basketball, they will play.
Howard has yet to decide if he will play in Orlando, per his agent.
The NBA is targeting a July 30 return at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. The Lakers currently hold the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
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