Players kneel during anthem as National Basketball Association restarts in Florida

Tanya Simon
July 31, 2020

The NBA will restart its 2019-2020 season Thursday when the New Orleans Pelicans face the Utah Jazz inside the league's "bubble" at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Even the game referees took a knee during the pregame scene, which occurred with the teams lined up along the sideline nearest where "Black Lives Matter" was painted onto the court.

The refs followed suit, as everyone in the arena worked as one to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter and social justice movement.

The NBA allowed players to replace their names on the back of their jerseys with social justice messages.

Then on May 25, Floyd died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into the Black man's neck for almost eight minutes.

Kneeling during the anthem in protest was popularized by former National Football League quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began kneeling to protest police violence against the Black community nationwide and to demand equality.

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"We've had a rule in place for a long time that requires players to stand", Silver told CNN.

"But I understand this is a unique moment in our history". There are two games scheduled for tonight including a highly-anticipated match-up between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Players have been based at Walt Disney World Resort just outside of Orlando, Fla., since early July under strict health and safety measures.

Thursday's games marked a resumption of regular season play to determine the final line-up for the National Basketball Association playoffs, which start on August 17.

Players in the bubble are required to undergo regular COVID-19 testing and the ability to enter and exit the secure zone is subject to stringent regulations.

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