The San Antonio Spurs have been with each other in Orlando for a few days and have gotten together for multiple practices within the facilities already.
While talking with the media before their recent practice, DeMar DeRozan described the group as a “bunch of loose poodles let out of the cage" but basketball aside, he was proud of the fact his team has not lost focus on addressing social justice issues.
“After months of not playing, and everything going on in the world, for us to come together. We had a great discussion before we even started practice,” DeRozan said. “We sat in a circle for about an hour and discussed social injustices and racism, the real things going on in life.”
The team's discussions together come when racism, social inequality and police brutality have been on the forefront of major issues within the country.
Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich has been outspoken on the topics of racial justice and racism, even spending a majority of his first press conference in months on the topic.
“It’s a seminal moment in the sense that we have an opportunity to do something transformative if we have the courage,” Popovich said. “As with many things in today’s world, interest wanes pretty quickly no matter what the topic.”
Many Spurs players already worked on ways to raise awareness and support towards overcoming these social issues.
Lonnie Walker IV and Bryn Forbes marched in the San Antonio Black Lives Matter protests and DeRozan marched in protests in California during the hiatus.
Marco Belinelli announced he’ll wear the word “Equality” in Italian on his jersey during the restart in Orlando to spread a positive message. Patty Mills pledged to donate the remainder of his salary for the season to social justice programs in his home country of Australia.
With all eyes on Orlando with the NBA season set to resume its season, this is an opportunity for players to address social justice on a grand platform and to a wide audience.
“To be able to share stories, everybody sharing how they helped and how they can help yesterday, that was refreshing to hear everybody’s story from that standpoint,” said DeRozan.
The Spurs restart their season on July 30th against the Sacramento Kings.