Having notably used his profile to discuss white privilege in recent years, Milwaukee Bucks veteran Kyle Korver remains committed to real social change.
As the prospect of the NBA season resuming next month looms large, conversation in recent days has shifted to many of the concerns that significant groups of players still have about playing at this time.
Those concerns undoubtedly cover the health risks associated with trying to play organized, competitive sport in the middle of the pandemic, but even more broadly they include questions over what can be achieved, or whether it’s even right to play in the middle of a concerted and sustained movement designed to end police brutality and address larger racial injustices in society.
From a Milwaukee Bucks perspective, a variety of players have made their feelings known on the current state of play in recent days, with George Hill and Pat Connaughton both having discussed the subject in recent interviews.
Most recently, though, Kyle Korver has shared his thoughts on the matter in conversation with his former teammate turned ESPN analyst Richard Jefferson. Given Korver’s track record as one of the NBA’s most thoughtful players, when he speaks, it’s generally worth listening.
Over the years, Kyle Korver has done significant good through his foundation, and has been a leading supporter of the End It Movement which is designed to draw awareness to and bring an end to modern slavery. Of course, most relevant in the current climate is the essay Korver penned for The Players Tribune last season, where he spoke openly about his white privilege.
Talking with Jefferson on an Instagram Live for SportsCenter, which was detailed by ESPN’s Eric Woodyard, Korver expressed his readiness to do whatever his black colleagues in the NBA feel is right as it pertains to the next steps for the season:
“If my black teammates and friends and brothers feel like the best way to go about real change is to not play, I stand with them. I’m OK with that. If we think that is the best way for change, I care more about change happening than a championship.”
Korver also noted, though, that it’s worth discussing whether there’s a way that the players can better use the platform offered by playing games to make real and lasting change.
“On the other side, I am on a team that feels like we could win, and I have never won. I would like to win. So, is there a way to do both? I think there’s a conversation there.”
“But, again, I’m going to follow the lead of my black brothers and teammates on this, and I stand with them in whatever they want to do,” he continued. “That’s what I want to do. I want change to happen, and I want to be a part of that in whatever role that I can, but I am also waiting for the NBA. I think there’s an opportunity in Orlando for us to be like, ‘Hey, how can we highlight change?’ The NFL’s come out with the $250 million and kind of their pledge of how they’re going to be about change, but what’s the NBA going to do? I happen to believe that the NBA is the best league, by far, and I’m so hopeful for what they’re going to come out with.”
What steps the NBA takes next remains to be seen, but in the meantime it seems safe to say that players will continue to make their voices heard.