LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. He may have been in the locker room preparing for a game, but Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum found time to sneak in a phone call. It was rather important.
Former first lady Michelle Obama spoke to a handful of NBA and WNBA players Sunday afternoon abouthow they can use their platform to address racial justice issues.
McCollum, a member on the NBA players union’s executive board, made sure to be a participant. Consider it one of many ways McCollum wanted his voice to be heard.
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It was more so just educational purposes and being able to ask questions about the importance of voting and how we can continue to empower our brothers and sisters to vote and what that means not only on the national level, but on the state and local level, McCollum said.
Its about what type of impact we can have as a whole as African Americans and Blacks in a position of power and how we can continue to spread that positive energy and try to make it as easy as possible for people to get to the polls. There is voter suppression that goes on in a lot of cities. It will be nice to see if they can open that up and continue to figure out ways to allow us to be able to submit votes via mail.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul, the president of the NBPA, said that players agreed to spend $300 million toward social justice issues. Paul considered that important to show their efforts would go beyond social-justice messages on the back of their jerseys.
For example, Paul, Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony and former NBA star Dwyane Wade launched the Social Change Fund, which will invest and support organizations that advocate for communities of color through long-term policy solutions, community representation, and narrative change.” Those three all stood on stage at the 2016 ESPYSand spoke out against law enforcement killing unarmed Black people.
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Though Anthony could not get on Sunday’scall, he said we need more of those conversations from Michelle to get on the phone and emphasize the importance of what it means to vote and how she is into voting. We support her a thousand percent.
Im already using my platform. The only thing I can continue do is to keep doing and using my voice and keeping those conversations alive. We go from there. Were not going to be quiet. I can tell you that, though. Were going to continue to bring awareness to issues that were all facing that is at hand.
Anthony has no plans, however, to protest during the national anthem during the season restart. Other players might, though McCollum said the NBPA still has not determined what action to take.
Im still figuring it out. Well try to collectively come up with something on it, McCollum said. CP is getting ready to gather guys on the call and figure out where everybody stands and what everybody wants to do before individually acting.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michelle Obama speaks to NBA, WNBA players about how they can use platform to create change