Within the year 2020, we’ve had a major push for social justice and the commitment to it moving forward. Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has been a strong voice off the basketball consistently discussing the mistakes of the country and how we can be better if we acknowledge our wrongs. Today, reported by Stadium’s Shams Charania, former Warriors forward Anthony Tolliver and a group of NBA players met with Pope Francis in Vatican City to discuss what players have in mind for social justice reform.
As previously mentioned, there were several players that met with Pope Francis. San Antonio Spurs guard Marco Belinelli, Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac, Milwaukee Bucks’ forward Kyle Korver, and former Buck and new Houston Rocket guard Sterling Brown. Lastly, former Warrior and current Memphis Grizzlie Tolliver who is also the union’s secretary-treasurer also attended.
The meeting came about as an assistant to Pope Francis at The Vatican reached out to the NBA’s Players Association to learn about what work the NBA players, individually and as a whole, have been doing to create social change and combat economic inequality as well as what work they will continue to do moving forward. Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association Michelle Roberts also attended the meeting.
With the players beginning training camp next week December 1st to prepare for the beginning of the 2020 – 2021 season on December 22nd, the NBAPA and The Vatican both worked fast to schedule the meeting. Next, the group of players and executives took an overnight flight Sunday to The Vatican to meet and discuss in person.
Among the players, both Brown and Korver were among the Bucks players who decided to sit out of their postseason game against the Orlando Magic after hearing of the news regarding the police-shooting of Kenosha, Wisconsin’s Jacob Blake. Isaac is an ordained minister and one of the few NBA personnel among players and coaches to stand for the national anthem throughout his time in the NBA’s restart in their Orlando Bubble.
The meeting took about an hour and was held at the papal library of the Apostolic Palace. Afterward, the players and executives toured the famous St. Peter’s Square.
Warriors Domination Is Over Per Hall of Famer and Analyst
The Warriors’ championship hopes may have gone out of the window just last week. Star shooting guard Klay Thompson was expected to be back and as healthy as ever, however, he tore his Achilles just hours before the NBA’s 2020 Draft. After hearing the news, NFL Hall of Famer and Fox Sport’s 1 Undisputed Co-Host Shannon Sharpe spoke to his co-host Skip Bayless about the Warriors run of being the best in the western conference is now over.
“The days of 67-15, the days of 73-9 Golden State Warriors, that’s over. That’s not happening again. The days of them just running wild in the west that’s over. Even with a healthy Klay, they were never going to be that again. Now obviously, you lose a guy that’s the ultimate 3 and D guy. He can go get you 20+, he can go get you 60. But he can D up. He would always take the toughest defensive assignment, that’s why I always thought he was the best two-way player Skip. What he was doing, he was getting Kawhi, KD, he would get LeBron on a nightly basis, and hey Klay we still need you to get up 22 [points a game]. And he was doing it.”
Since the unfortunate news, the Warriors have made several key acquisitions drafting former Memphis Tigers center James Wiseman, trading for former Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kelly Oubre, signing former Boston Celtic Brad Wanamaker, and signing former Los Angeles Laker and former Warrior Kent Bazemore. The team may not be done adding players as they are currently awaiting approval of their request for a disabled player exception with Thompson being out for the entire upcoming season. If the NBA is able to get back to them in time, they may still find more value during the 2020 free agency period.