On Tuesday, the Philadelphia 76ers were hard at work in preparation for Game 2 of their first-round series with the Washington Wizards. As expected, the Sixers enter the contest with a 1-0 lead over Bradley Beal and Co. However, given the teams’ proximity in the final minute of Game 1, Philly clearly has a lot to clean up before Game 2.
Beating the Wizards wasn’t the only thing on players’ minds at practice, though. Tuesday also marked the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death at the hands of then-Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin.
The incident ignited an international outcry against racial injustice and police brutality. Sixers guard George Hill played a key role in that movement in August when, as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, he and his teammates boycotted a playoff game in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
After the Sixers latest practice, Hill spoke out on the anniversary of Floyd’s death.
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Hill on the Anniversary, Where We Go From Here
When asked about the anniversary during his post-practice media session, Hill noted its significance. However, he was quick to point out that the fight for justice is an ongoing one.
“I mean it’s a day to remember,” Hill said, via The Philadelphia Inquirer. “You know the job is not done.”
Hill also spoke about his desire to see Black men and women support each other going forward.
“You know the things that I want to see moving forward is us as Black men — us as kings and queens — to start taking care of each other,” Hill said. “I know it’s easier said than done, and we get on other races for disrespect and things like that. But I think as a whole, we have to start respecting one another.”
The 35-year-old has never shied away from using his platform in support of the equality cause. For him, the need to speak out and enact positive change was instilled as part of his upbringing.
“Most of those things hit home to me,” Hill said. “I grew up in a rough neighborhood. I grew up in a family that’s been involved with the police plenty of times and things like that. So I’ve seen it and it impacts me a certain way.”
During their playoff boycott, which inspired similar action from teams across the sports landscape, Hill and the Bucks were in communication with Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, discussing criminal justice reform.
“Life is bigger than the sport that we play,” Hill concluded. “In everyone’s eyes, we’re looked at superheroes, but once we take these jerseys off and these capes off, and we’re brought into the community, we’re just another African American.”
Hill on Fans Returning in Droves to Wells Fargo
When Hill took the court for Game 1 at the Wells Fargo Center, it was an important moment for the 13-year NBA veteran. And it was all about the support he and his teammates received from the South Philly crowd, which was larger than it had been all season as pandemic-inspired limits have been eased.
“[The fans] are something that we truly missed,” Hill said, via SI’s All 76ers. “No one knows how big our fans matter until they’re not there.”
Hill further revealed that playing in Philly before its passionate fans had been something of a bucket-list item for him.
“This is one place that I always wanted to be in, see the fans, and be a part of,” he said. “I got to do that the other night. Even though it wasn’t packed all the way, it was a lot more than what we’re used to, and we’re going to rely on that here throughout the playoffs.”