Lakers' Anthony Davis: NBA Players Won't Play If Team Governors Break Promises

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 30, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) celebrate after a play against the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis made clear what would happen if NBA governors did not hold up their end of an agreement to implement a number of social justice initiatives after this week's work stoppage: no more basketball.

Not just for Davis, but for the league.

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears

“If they don’t, we won’t play again. It’s as simple as that,” said Lakers forward Anthony Davis on if the owners don’t keep their word.

Following the NBA's three-day postponement of the playoffs, Davis said players would strike again if team governors break promises outlined by the NBA and the Players Association. Among the action items agreed to Thursday were the establishment of a social justice coalition made up of coaches, players and team governors to promote voting access and civic engagement and advocating for police and criminal justice reform as well as using NBA arenas as polling places during the 2020 general election.


NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released the following joint statement today. 🔗: https://t.co/1nHK3FG9TB https://t.co/7sSBLO8pMm

Davis made his comments following the Lakers' Game 5 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.

The NBA has also recently committed $300 million over the next 10 years toward the economic empowerment of Black communities.

It's unclear exactly what the threshold would be for another work stoppage.


“We put together a plan and we had action.” @KingJames on the NBA players’ social justice initiatives. https://t.co/sFxDuiCVJy

On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks refused to leave their locker room for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday. That kicked off an unprecedented act of protest in which the NBA postponed the playoffs while teams across the MLB, WNBA, MLS and NHL sat out in solidarity. Multiple NFL teams would go on to cancel practice in a show of support as well.

Play only resumed again in the NBA once team governors and players agreed to do more to help fight systemic racism and police brutality.

Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown told reporters he has doubts about the league following through:

"I think promises are made year after year. We've heard a lot of these terms and words before. We heard them in 2014—reform. We're still hearing them now. A lot of them are just reshaping the same ideas and nothing is actually taking place. Long-term goals are one thing, but I think there's stuff in our wheelhouse as athletes with our resources and the people that we're connected to that short-term effect is possible as well.

"Everybody keeps saying, 'Change is going to take this, change is going to take that.' That's the incrementalism idea that keeps stringing you along to make you feel like something's going to happen, something's going to happen. People were dying in 2014, and it's 2020 and people are still dying the same way. They keep saying 'reform, reform, reform,' and ain't nothing being reformed. I'm not as confident as I would like to be."

Based on Davis' assessment, if it turns out Brown is correct, the NBA may be in for another player strike, and it would presumably take much more effort to undo the damage between the union and the league.