With scores of Americans marching peacefully in memory of George Floyd and civil unrest rocking a reeling nation, the NBA and the rest of the sports world have rightfully taken a back seat in the country’s consciousness to the bigger, more structural issues and racial injustices that have returned to the forefront. But that doesn’t mean basketball hasn’t had, can’t and won’t have a role to play in the United States’ reckoning with its unjust past, painful present and uncertain future.
On this week’s episode of Hollywood Hoops, Eric Pincus and Josh Martin take time to consider the potential impact of the recent wave of protests that has swept across America, with a particular focus on the uprising in Los Angeles. Our co-hosts welcome in long-time NBA writer Chris Palmer, who took the frontlines of the protests in Mid-City LA to document the movement in full bloom—and, ultimately, witness how the outcry dissolved into forces beyond the peaceful demonstrators inciting chaos, destruction and violence in the city.
Along with their special guest, our co-hosts also consider what the NBA has done and can do to support and propel the Black Lives Matter movement and the overall causes of combating racism, fighting for equity and justice, and bringing about much-needed institutional reform, particularly in policing. While NBA players won’t likely to sit out the remainder of a pandemic-ravaged season to see the movement through on foot, they could use the league’s impending return as a platform for pushing it forward, with millions of eyeballs locked in.
Eric and Josh also share their reactions to what’s been going on in LA and around the country from their own perspectives. They also reflect on their fortune in covering a predominantly Black league and, in turn, the desire and need to stand up and speak out for change on personal, professional and societal levels. Hollywood Hoops may be a sports-focused podcast, but what we’re dealing with as a country is so much bigger than basketball.
00:00 – Eric and Josh Reflect on America’s Unrest
11:07 – Chris Palmer Goes Inside the Protests
28:24 – The NBA’s Role in Seeking Justice for George Floyd
52:50 – Takeaways From Challenging Days