In the 4½ months that have passed since the last game was played, the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor have ignited a league-wide social justice initiative. That was the focus as the Jazz and Pelicans took the floor, with every player, coach and referee taking a knee during the national anthem.
Though his is one of eight teams not in Orlando, Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young took to social media to applaud the pregame ceremony. Enes Kanter, whose Boston Celtics play the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, also shared his support.
Hell Yeah ✊✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) July 30, 2020
Stephen Curry and Michele Roberts, executive director of the NBPA, chimed in following the pregame ceremony between the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers that also featured a Black Lives Matter tribute.
I love every one of my @NBA brothers out there! Welcome back..— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) July 31, 2020
Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell posted a message following his team's 106-104 win over the Pelicans, calling on Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to arrest the officers involved in Taylor's death. Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma did the same following his teams 103-101 win over the LA Clippers.
Great team win felt good to be back!! But would be great if @kyoag would ARREST BREONNA TAYLORS MURDERERS!!!— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) July 31, 2020
LOUISVILLE/KENTUCKY ARREST THESE DAMN COPS ALREADY😤— kuz (@kylekuzma) July 31, 2020
Mitchell's teammate, Rudy Gobert, shared his excitement along with a call to action following his game-winning shot.
Felt good to be out there with my brothers 🙏🏾🙏🏾 love 💚🖤— Royce O'Neale (@BucketsONeale00) July 31, 2020
felt good to be out there with the bro's again 🖤!!!! #goodvibetribe— Jordan Clarkson (@JordanClarksons) July 31, 2020
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic takes the court Friday against the Houston Rockets, but took in Thursday's matchup between the top two seeds in the West. The Mavericks would face Paul George and the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs if the season ended today.
PG13 a problem! always been— Luka Doncic (@luka7doncic) July 31, 2020
Players outside the bubble, like Maurice Harkless, who was traded from the Clippers to the New York Knicks at the deadline, shared excitement for the return of basketball but lamented missing out on the action. Young later echoed that sentiment.
NBA back !! Feel like Christmas!! Except this year I gotta watch all my brothers open their gifts while I watch and pretend to be happy for them 🤣🤣— Maurice Harkless (@moe_harkless) July 30, 2020
Wish we were there hoopin...— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) July 31, 2020
....but on another note, I missed watching this game🏀 !!! Good Luck to everybody out there🔥🔥💯— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) July 31, 2020