Dwight Howard is still missing a championship ring in his impressive NBA career, and he could very well finally achieve that feat should the NBA resume its season on July 30 as planned.
Yet, the Lakers big man is among those who support Kyrie Irving in continuing to pause the resumption of the NBA season in order for players to use their platform to fight against systemic racism.
“I agree with Kyrie. Basketball, or entertainment period, isn’t needed at this moment, and will only be a distraction,” Howard said in a statement released by his agent late Saturday night. “Sure it might not distract us the players, but we have resources at hand 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 bigger Championship, that’s just too beautiful to pass up. What better time than now for us to be focusing on our families?”
Howard joins Irving and Portland Trail Blazers star CJ McCollum as among the more notable players to publicly oppose a restart to the season.
But not everyone in the league is on the same page.
LeBron James, who has been vocal in his support of Black Lives Matter and recently initiated a program to help African-American citizens in communities susceptible to voter suppression to register to vote, has argued that players can do both: continue to play out the season while simultaneously playing a role in advancing the Black Lives Matter movement.
Not all players are required to report to Orlando – the central site for the NBA restart – and will not be punished if they choose not to play, but if enough players, particularly star or impact players, feel the way Irving and Howard do, it would create another hurdle for the league.
“This is a rare opportunity that, I believe, we as a community should be taking full advantage of,” Howard continued in his statement. “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 became their own nations. No Basketball till we get things resolved.”