Kyrie Irving and LeBron James Differ On Returning NBA Season

By David Johnson/ BNC Digital Reporter

New York (BNC) — Since announcing the return of the 2019-2020 NBA season from commissioner Adam Silver, many NBA players have come forward with mixed emotions and varied concerns.

NBA Players Carmelo Anthony, C.J. McCollum, Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley, Lou Williams, and Donovan Mitchell headline many who have expressed not returning due to COVID-19/Social issues.

According to Sham Charania, Brooklyn Nets Guard Kyrie Irving held a conference call with 80 other players over this weekend, expressing concerns related to whether NBA games would take away from issues related to social justice. Players are also worried about strict conditions within the Walt Disney World “bubble” ,and health risks as COVID-19 cases rise in Florida.

In the phone call Irving stated, “I’m willing to give up everything I have for social reform”, said Irving.

These comments made from Irving come weeks removed from his support of the NBA season returning, however a few weeks ago Irving had a change of heart to not return at all.

Irving recently took to his personal Instagram too express further on his passion for social reform.

Photo By : David Johnson

Though many have sided with Irving’s passion not to continue the season due to civil unrest, others still seek to continue the NBA season despite concerns of social reform and COVID-19.

Irving’s teammate Garrett Temple said in a recent statement, he thinks continuing the season would be “helpful”

Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers took to his Instagram too express his support of a NBA return stating:

Us coming back would be putting money in all our pockets. With this money, you could help out even more people and continue to give, more importantly, your time and energy towards the BLM [Black Lives Matter] movement. Which I’m 100% on board with. I love Kyrie’s passion towards helping this movement. I’m with it… but in the right way, and not at the cost of the whole NBA and players’ careers. We can do both. We can play, and we can help change the way black lives are lived. … Canceling or boycotting a return doesn’t do that, in my opinion. Guys want to play, provide, and help change

Lakers star forward LeBron James wants to “keep making his mark off the court and continue playing basketball”. For James, his efforts to give back, and speak out on social injustice is well documented. James believes he can do both at the same time.

James has been working out individually and with teammates under COVID-19 social distant protocols to get prepared for the returning season.

The NBA not returning at all would vastly impact players financially going forward, as future contracts and potential contract salaries of star players could see a drastic drop off in the 2020-2021 season.

However, that number could be even more crippling to players who sit in the NBA’s return July 31 , as players could lose more money than suspended players would in a season.

According to Yahoo Sports, here’s the share of salaries players lose per game when:

  • Suspended for fewer than 20 games: 0.7%  (1/145th)
  • Suspended for 20 games or more: 0.9% (1/110th)
  • Choosing not to play at Disney World: 1.1%

Though players are divided in their stance to return, are players going to be united in taking a hit financially for a bigger cause than themselves ?


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