'One of the Worst, Strangest Years': An N.B.A. Season Like No Other - Press "Enter" to skip to content

‘One of the Worst, Strangest Years’: An N.B.A. Season Like No Other

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“The consensus was that we could come down here and use our platform to bring awareness to important issues,” Grant said, adding, “I thought I could do more here than back home.”

From the start, Grant used his platform to shine a spotlight on Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician from Louisville, Ky. Taylor, a Black woman, was killed in March when police officers who were executing a search warrant broke down the door to her apartment and shot her six times.

“I think anytime anyone in our community gets murdered for no reason, it impacts me deeply,” Grant said.

On July 15, during his first talk with the news media after entering the bubble, he declined to answer questions about basketball. Instead, he spoke about Taylor and about how the officers who had killed her were, in his words, “still roaming around free.”

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Other players, including LeBron James, began following a similar blueprint, either by prefacing their news conferences with remarks about Taylor or by refusing to talk about basketball. As protests continued to roil the country, many players viewed their interactions with reporters as a means to address police brutality and systemic racism.

“I really didn’t know how it was going to go,” Grant said. “But I just did what I thought was right.”

After another police shooting in August — Jacob Blake, a Black man, was seriously injured after officers repeatedly shot him in the back in Kenosha, Wis. — the Bucks walked out of a playoff game with the Magic, spurring the N.B.A. to postpone the playoffs for several days. Other sports leagues soon experienced similar player-driven disruptions. In his own way, Grant had contributed to a larger movement.

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