Chris Webber is inside of the NBA bubble and joined the Inside the NBA crew on TNT Wednesday night after it was announced that players and teams decided to boycott the playoff games scheduled for the day.
The boycott stemmed from the shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
While Blake survived the shooting, he is reportedly paralyzed.
When it was Webber’s turn to speak, he delivered a powerful and emotional message to the camera which voiced his support of the NBA players and their decision, while also commenting about the next steps of the fight for social justice and racial equality.
“I keep hearing the question, ‘What’s next? What’s next?’ Well, you’ve got to plan what’s next. You have to figure out what’s next. I’m very proud of the players. I don’t know the next steps,” Webber said. “I don’t really care what the next steps are because the first steps are to garner attention, and they have everybody’s attention around the world right now. Then leadership and others will get together and decide the next steps. We know it won’t end tomorrow. We know that there’s been a million marches and nothing will change tomorrow.
“It is the young people leading the way and I applaud them.” @realchriswebber delivers a powerful message in support of the NBA players. pic.twitter.com/KVCUINw8Vx
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) August 26, 2020
“We know vote. We keep hearing vote. Everybody vote. But I’m here to speak for those that are always marginalized. Those that live in these neighborhoods where we preach and tell them to vote and then walk away. Charles Barkley came to my high school. Just seeing him in the locker room, seeing his hands and seeing his body, that inspired me. You can’t see something — you can’t be something til you see it. And when I tell you the little kids that have called me, upset — I have a godson with autism and I just had to explain to him why we aren’t playing. I have young nephews that I’ve had to talk to about death before they’ve even seen it in a movie.
“If not now, when? If not during a pandemic and countless lives being lost. If not now, when? That’s all I want to hear from the rest of the night when everybody’s pontificating and thinking and soapboxing and all of that, we know nothing is going to change. We get it. If Martin Luther King got shot and risked his life, Medgar Evers, and we’ve seen this in all of our heroes constantly taken down. We understand it’s not going to end, but that does not mean young men that you don’t do anything. Don’t listen to these people telling you don’t do anything because it’s not going to end right away. You are starting something for the next generation and the next generation to take over. Do you have to be smart? Yes. Do you have to make sure you have a plan? Yes. Do you have to be articulate about that plan? Yes. All of those things, but that’s what you’re going to do. They’re professionals, they know how to be the best of themselves. So I applaud it. I applaud it because it’s the young people, the young people leading the way. And I applaud them.”
Many others showed their support of NBA players for boycotting the playoff games on Wednesday night, including athletes from other professional sports leagues and former President Barack Obama.