Julio Cortez/Associated Press
He doesn’t believe now is the time to play basketball. After speaking with Shams Charania in an interview for Stadium on Saturday, Jackson took to Instagram to expand on his thoughts about why players should hold off on returning to the court.
“I love the NBA, man. That’s my family,” Jackson said. “But now ain’t the time to be playing basketball, y’all. Now ain’t the time. Playing basketball is going to do one thing: take all the attention off the task at hand right now and what we’re fighting for.”
Jackson was close with George Floyd, who was killed while in police custody after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Jackson has been vocal in fighting for justice for Floyd, helping lead protests and spur action among current NBA stars.
On Friday night, Brooklyn Nets guard and National Basketball Players Association vice president Kyrie Irving held a call with 80 members of the players union in which he advocated against resuming the season in Orlando, Florida, as part of the league’s approved plan to host a 22-team restart, according to Charania.
While no decision has been made by Irving or the other players on the call, Jackson agrees that by playing games now, it may distract from a national conversation on systemic racism and police brutality.
“Nobody is going to be talking about getting justice for all these senseless murders by this police,” Jackson said.
Jackson also pointed a finger at NBA leadership, the majority of which he feels haven’t done enough.
“None of these white owners have spoken up,” Jackson said. “None of them are taking a stand. Yeah, they might post a video when the season starts saying what we should do, but they ain’t doing nothing. Playing basketball ain’t going to do nothing but make them money and take the attention of what we’re fighting for, what we’re marching for. It’s bigger than all of us, and it’s bigger than the game. It’s sad that we’ve still got to explain that to people, bro. It’s sad.”
On Friday night, Sam Amick of The Athletic reported LeBron James is still in favor playing the season, noting the Los Angeles Lakers star believes the NBA can be a force for change while games are being held.