A Los Angeles Lakers player has gone on record to state that former President Barack Obama was the reason that the NBA players decided to resume the basketball season, according to Insider. The completion of the season was in jeopardy after some of the players didn’t want to play after Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officers shot an unarmed Black man, Jacob Blake.
The players had unofficially decided to protest on Aug. 26, when the Milwaukee Bucks took a stance and didn’t take the court, during the first round of the NBA playoffs against the Orlando Magic. After making that unprecedented move, the remaining playoff teams followed suit and the NBA decided to suspend the playoffs.
On that night, the players and coaches decided to meet to vote on what would be the next move. Both LA teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers had voted to end the season and vacate the bubble. The vote had starkly divided the players and placed the season in jeopardy.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley, while appearing on “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” had concluded that the season was most likely over. But then, President Obama had spoken to some of the players on the phone and that conversation solidified that they would continue playing.
“I think Obama’s phone call to Chris Paul, [Andre] Iguodala, and LeBron [James] to seal the deal of how he would handle it, getting a leadership group together, how we were going to attack the owners. And then once we put that to bed, it was time, after talking to ‘Bron after he talked to Obama, it was like, ‘If Obama said it, what other better advice can we get?’ Dudley said.
“I said, ‘There’s nothing else to talk about. We’re playing.'”
It was reported that Obama had encouraged the players to use the moment to come up with actionable items to help fight racial inequality, social injustice, and police brutality.