MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Editor's note: The above video aired on December 29, 2020
In the aftermath of Wednesday's chaos at the U.S. Capitol, and to protest racial and social injustice, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Memphis Grizzlies took a moment before their game on Thursday night to reflect together in a show of demonstration.
The two teams paused at the opening tip, went to the sideline, locked arms and took a knee. They were joined by coaches, staff and reserves covering the entire sideline from end line to end line. The three officials knelt at midcourt behind the line of players.
"I'm just so proud to be a part of this league. Our league is at the forefront of all … positive change in my mind," Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. said. "All things equality. All things social justice. I couldn't be more proud of the players, the teams, the league we're in."
The demonstration was also in response to the decision by prosecutors in Wisconsin earlier this week not to charge the officer who shot Jacob Blake.
Both coaches addressed Wednesday's events in Washington and other questions regarding social justice in the country. "The last nine or 10 months has given us all a priority check, I think," Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "Through the civil unrest. Through COVID itself. We have to be able to sit back and prioritize what is important, and there are larger issues at hand that we deal with on a day-to-day basis. … How we interact with each other as a society and as a larger community is more important."
Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins noted the first three words of the U.S. Constitution are "We the people," and said those are strong words to remember as the country reflects on recent events. "It starts with each individual. ‘We the people' have the power to make change … knowing that better days need to be ahead of us. And they will be ahead of us if we all take that long, hard look at what part can I play in making a difference in positive change?"