PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The National Basketball Coaches Association has created a committee with a special focus on racial injustice and reform in NBA cities. ESPN was first to report the formation of this committee.
Atlanta Hawks head coach, and former 76ers assistant, Lloyd Pierce, has been at the forefront of these efforts to bring his peers together for this cause.
“I am not OK,” Pierce told ESPN’s “The Woj Pod.” “I was extremely emotional this week. ... As an African American man, there’s a fear that I have, that I know a lot of other people have, that needs to be addressed.”
According to ESPN, other coaches, past and present, on this committee are San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, Golden State’s Steve Kerr — who are two of the most outspoken on social issues in the sport, the Clippers' Doc Rivers, Cleveland’s JB Bickerstaff, Utah’s Quin Snyder, former Knicks and Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale and former Magic and Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy.
“It’s necessary for white people to listen and to be willing to take action,” Snyder said on “The Woj Pod.”
The NBCA released a statement Monday about the death of George Floyd that said, in part, “The events of the past few weeks — police brutality, racial profiling and the weaponization of racism — are shameful, inhuman and intolerable.”
This statement comes after a couple of Zoom calls over the weekend that featured every current head coach at once, many of them in a committee meeting the next day, according to ESPN.
The committee plans on meeting Tuesday to continue discussing ideas.
“We all listened to Killer Mike speak the other day,” Pierce said on “The Woj Pod. “It’s plot, plan, it’s strategize.”
Pierce added, “We need allies. We have a platform. We need to use that platform, but it has to be sustainable … What we really need is systemic change, and we need to get with law enforcement officials. We need to talk about those things and we’ve thrown out every idea, every possible option of what is true change, impactful change that we can create, that we can keep and sustain.”
Pierce acknowledged it’s going to take time for their goal to be achieved, and said he’s committed to this cause even if he’s not a NBA head coach next year.
The overall message from Monday’s conversations on “The Woj Pod” and the NBA’s YouTube channel later in the day was there needs to be unification, listening and awareness, especially from the white community.
Pelicans Vice President of Basketball Operations and former WNBA player Swin Cash made a plea in her final statement of the roundtable that explains why everyone needs to get involved.
“As an African American woman with a young son, I’m not asking for more for my son than your son,” Cash said. “All I’m asking is for him to have the same equal chance as a young white boy in this country. And in order for him to do that, in order for him to have that same life, in order for him to have those same equal opportunities, I need your help. I need your help.
“To all of the mothers out there, to all of the men that are out there who don’t look like me, who don’t look like my son, I need your help to make this country better.
“And that’s my plea, because I can’t sleep at night. I worry about my son. I worry about him having a button nose and smiling right now and then becoming 6'6" like his dad and people looking at him as a threat. And the only way to change that is if everybody unites together and figures out how we’re better as a country. And until that’s done, I still will not sleep at night, because I’ll be worrying about my child, so my plea is for everybody to have all hands on deck right now.”