Just a couple of weeks ago, it looked like the NBA was going to return without any serious problems. However, Kyrie Irving and a group of other players decided to give a strong voice to the people who don’t want to play. What was supposed to be a pretty straightforward return to action has now become a very controversial issue for the league.
The Los Angeles Lakers and star LeBron James have a lot to lose if the season is canceled. While James has stayed quiet on the issue, some believe that he’s not going to let the season end.
“LeBron is going to make sure those games [in Orlando] are played, because he knows they could have a huge impact on his legacy,” an Eastern Conference executive told Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “He knows picking up one or two more titles is the potential tipping point, and he’s determined to go for it.”
This statement echoes what Clippers starter Patrick Beverley recently said. As the league’s best player over the last decade, James has a lot of influence over the NBA. He’s also not getting any younger and a wasted season could be a serious problem for him. He won’t be alone in the battle for players who want to keep playing.
Ed Davis Explains Why Season Should Continue
Many eyes will be on the likes of James, but there have been less prominent players to speak out on the issue. Utah Jazz center Ed Davis gave a strong rebuttal to Irving’s take on continuing the season, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype:
I mean, this is really the only time that you’re going to get that and it’s the only time you’re going to get 22 teams together for seven weeks, so we can really get down and meet every couple of weeks and do some really cool things. There’s some really great stuff that we can do for the world. I feel like all of us doing it together and working with the NBA and working with these owners, we can really help out. For me, I want to fight against police brutality. That’s my cause; that’s really what I want to focus on. I hope that when we get down there, we can do that together. So, like I said, I’m all for us playing and I feel like we need to play. I think a lot of these guys know really need to educate themselves on what’s really going to happen if we do take a stand and don’t play.
This sounds similar to the reported thoughts that James has on the matter. While Irving thinks that bringing the NBA back could hurt with social activism, there are those who think it could only help.
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Davis Calls out Irving & Dwight Howard
Davis wasn’t done with the previous comments. He also specifically called out Lakers big man Dwight Howard, who has also championed not bringing the season back:
It’s easy for a guy like Kyrie [Irving] to say that he’ll give everything back [for social reform], but would he really give everything back? It’s easy for Dwight Howard to say that we don’t need to play when he’s in Atlanta in his $20 million mansion. But there are other guys on the rosters who need this money to provide for whoever they’re taking care of and things like that. It’s easy for the superstars in the league to say this and how they feel about this and that. But it means a lot more when it comes from the role players and the guys that [aren’t stars]. There are so many different perspectives because there are so many different levels in the NBA. Like I said, it’s so easy for the superstars to say, “Let’s just not play,” and they’re good. But some guys can’t just do that. There are lives on the line and, like I said, generational wealth on the line. These are the hits that we’re going to take if we don’t play.
This issue could pit players against each other. It appears work still needs to be done with just over a month before games are supposed to be played.