Kamala Harris Joins CJ McCollum's 'ReMaking America' to Talk Police, Education

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, left, guards Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) as he drives in the first half during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum hosted a roundtable-style discussion with Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

The conversation aired as a PlayersTV episode of "ReMaking America," and Kamala Harris posted it on her YouTube page Tuesday:

McCollum is a journalism graduate from Lehigh University and hosted the conversation that touched on a number of topics, including NBA players using their platform to push for change, systemic racism, the need for police reform, education and challenges the country is facing with the election approaching.

Sarah Todd of the Desert News noted Mitchell asked Harris what plan she and presidential nominee Joe Biden have for concerns about educational equality, pointing out "there's no reason a kid in the Bronx shouldn't receive the same education, because of where he goes to school, as a kid in Connecticut."

After expressing how important the issue is to her, Harris said, "Part of what the problem is that we fund public schools based on the tax base of that community. That's completely upside down. That doesn't make any sense. That means that the schools that are getting the lowest funding are in the communities that have the highest need."

She described a plan that would triple funding for low-income schools and teacher salaries in such areas while providing more counselors for students as well.

Lindsey Wisniewski of NBC Sports Northwest noted McCollum also touched on the importance of the issue, which follows since he wore the words "Education Reform" on the back of his jersey at the Walt Disney World Resort bubble.

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Wisniewski shared more of Harris' comments on the subject:

"We need to address undiagnosed and untreated trauma—poverty is trauma-inducing. If you've not addressed the trauma, that child cannot go to school the next day and take full capacity of what is there. That's why I say that it's really important to include in our push for more funding for public education, that piece of it that's about counselors in schools, and all the support so that your mother can teach, and other people can help the child."

The discussion also turned to the fight against systemic racism and police brutality, which was notable because of how prevalent the topic was during the NBA's restart inside the bubble.

"There are so many Breonnas and George Floyds, we all know that," Harris said. "The thing that has made this issue much more in the public sphere is smartphones. So now people are seeing what we've been knowing forever, but maybe didn't have witnesses. So, having leadership that speaks the truth about it and then what do we do in terms of reforms..."

A number of NBA players joined the worldwide protests following the police killing of Floyd and then continued to use their platforms once the season restarted.

They did so by displaying messages on the backs of their jerseys, kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and using postgame press conferences to call for justice for Breonna Taylor, Floyd, Jacob Blake and more.

Most notably, the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play a postseason game against the Orlando Magic following the police shooting of Blake, which caused a domino effect of postponements across the league and entire sports world.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Tuesday's discussion also focused on how important it is for the NBA's players to continue using their platforms even after the season ended.

That is exactly what they did with this conversation.