Orlando Magic forward James Ennis III (11), center Nikola Vucevic (9), and guard Terrence Ross, right, celebrate their win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)

NBA Players Use Voice to Urge Voting

NBA Social Justice Response

In light of the ongoing social justice movement, the NBA is doing everything possible to help the cause. In the Orlando bubble, the NBA allowed its players to replace the last name on their jerseys with a social justice message. These included statements such as “Black Lives Matter,” “Equality” and “Vote.”

The league certainly made its message clear when its players boycotted an entire day of playoff games in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man.

FILE – In this Oct. 21, 2015, file photo, former first lady Michelle Obama looks on as NBA star LeBron James speaks at The University of Akron, in Akron, Ohio. A voter initiative led by Michelle Obama is partnering with a similar group founded by NBA star LeBron James and other prominent Black athletes and entertainers to generate excitement about voting early for the Nov. 3 election. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

Individual Efforts

Many players are also contributing their own individual efforts to address the issue. For example, 2020 NBA Finals MVP, Lebron James, leads a voting rights organization called “More Than a Vote.”

In its efforts to “[protect] Black voters and voter suppression that goes on in our communities,” the coalition has already recruited over 10,000 volunteer poll workers. James says one of the organization’s proud slogans is “change isn’t made by sitting on the sidelines.”

2020 Election

As the 2020 presidential election approaches, the NBA’s efforts to combat racial voter suppression are paying off. Ahead of the election, 96% of the league’s players are registered to vote. To put this figure into perspective, a mere 22% of NBA players voted in the 2016 election.

Furthermore, 20 NBA arenas across the country will serve as polling sites for this year’s election. This includes Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks. This will be the city’s largest polling site welcoming over 60,000 eligible voters.

About Griffin Foll

Hi, my name is Griffin Foll and I am currently a senior at UF studying journalism with a focus on sports and media and an outside concentration in political science. In addition to covering the 2023 UF men's and women's golf beats, I contribute weekly web and radio content for WRUF ESPN Gainesville. Be sure to check out some of my recent articles!

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