After President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and somehow made it into the chambers of both the U.S. Senate and House, Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo isn’t exactly thrilled to take part in the first NBA game in Washington D.C.
The Heat travel to the nation’s capital on January 8 and will face off against the Washington Wizards the following night at the Capital One Arena, which is located only a mile away from the Capitol building — the same place where a woman was fatally shot, Capitol Police officers were injured, Trump supporters set up a noose on the west lawn, and a violent siege left numerous members of Congress having to rush to safety.
The Heat struggled to get focused and play against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday after watching the absolutely devastating scene in Washington. Post-game Adebayo told reporters that he’s going to err on the side of caution as the team travels to play in D.C.
As first reported by AP’s Tim Reynolds, “I’m not leaving my room,” Adebayo said, prior to leaving for the team’s four-game road trip which starts in Washington. “After seeing something like that, I’m not leaving my room. I’m an African-American man. I’ve got to live with that. I’ve got to be cautious everywhere I go.”
Adebayo Ruminated on What Would’ve Happened If Wednesday’s Riot was ‘A Mob of Black People’
The 29-year-old 6-foot-9 power forward expressed his worry about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“You never know who I’m picking to be the deciding person to be like, ‘I’m going to ruin his life today,’ or ‘I’m going to take something away from him that he really loves,'” Adebayo noted. “Like I said, being an African-American man, you can tell there’s two Americas we’re living in. They don’t want us to be equal.”
“Imagine if a mob of Black people wanted to go in the White House,” Adebayo continued. “Imagine what’d happen. It’d be tear gas. It’d be rubber bullets. It’d be the whole nine yards.”
Wizards’ newest star Russell Westbrook shared similar sentiments of being in Washington. “It’s just crazy, almost like a movie when I see it,” said Westbrook. “Talking to people, and obviously now being in D.C. and my family there, it definitely hits a little different for me now.”
The Heat & Celtics Almost Canceled Wednesday’s Game Amid the D.C. Riots
Prior to tipoff on Wednesday, neither Heat’s head coach Erik Spoelstra nor the Celtics head coach thought they would play their scheduled game, during which Miami ended up narrowly losing to Boston 107-105.
“We scrapped warmups, sat in the locker room and talked,” Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens said. “To be honest, at 30 minutes [before tip-off], I didn’t think we were playing. Coaches left the room, players finished talking and chose to play. I called my wife and told her I don’t think we’re playing, and 10 minutes later we had decided to.”
Spoelstra thought the game was being called off after receiving an urgent phone call from Stevens:
Brad was great,” Spoelstra said. “He called me, and it was probably five minutes before I was going into the locker room. I almost did a double-take at my phone. And, so, I thought, ‘Oh, s–t, something’s going on.’ So I picked up. And then just as I was picking up [public-relations staffer] Michael Lissack came into my office also to let me know.
Both teams agreed to play and released a joint statement before the game started.
They said in part, “We have decided to play tonight’s game to try to bring joy into people’s lives. But we must not forget the injustices in our society, and we will continue to use our voices and our platform to highlight these issues and do everything we can to work for a more equal America.”