NBA returns Saturday, social justice initiatives will turn arenas into 2020 voting locations

The NBA will also create advertising spots to encourage people to vote in the 2020 election

NBA Orlando voting playoffs
NBA players have reportedly decided to resume the season after their walkout of playoff games on Wednesday to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The NBA and NBA Player’s Association announced that they will return to play on Saturday. They also announced they will be converting some of their basketball arenas into voting locations for the upcoming 2020 election.

In a joint statement, the NBA and NBPA on Friday made clear how they intend to further advocate for racial and social justice through new initiatives.

As theGrio reported, the league staged a boycott earlier this week in response to the latest shooting of an unarmed Black man, Jacob Blake, by a Kenosha police officer.

The league is 80% Black, making the issue personal to players such as LeBron James coaches like LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, who have both spoken out against the violence against Black bodies.

Playoff games will resume this weekend after the league and players came to an agreement on how to move forward as an organization while continuing to effectively advocate for racial and social justice.

NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stated that the league would use its platform in three meaningful ways. One of them is to utilize the arenas they own as a place for voting in November.

NBA Games Postponed Due To Player Protest
An empty arena is seen as all NBA playoff games were postponed today during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 27, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The large capacity of these spaces will allow for more people to cast their ballots, especially in light of other traditional voting places being closed.

“In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID,” the statement read.

“If a deadline has passed, team governors will work with local elections officials to find another election-related use for the facility, including but not limited to voter registration and ballot receiving boards.”

Furthermore, a social justice coalition will be established that will focus on “increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.”

Read More: Jared Kushner says NBA players are ‘very fortunate’ to take off from work

Another component will be the league working with players to create advertising spots that encourage the public to perform its civic duty.

“These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community,” the statement continued.

“We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together — in Orlando and in all NBA team markets — to push for meaningful and sustainable change.”

This announcement by the NBA and NBPA follows a precedent set by James. Earlier this month, his voting-rights group, More Than a Vote, partnered with the Los Angeles Dodgers to convert Dodger Stadium into a polling place for the November presidential general election.

The election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

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