The 2018-2019 NBA season has officially begun with the first game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, as well as another between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors, on Tuesday (Oct. 16). Fans are surely excited about the games but may also be looking forward to seeing what players like LeBron James will do with their activism.
League players have spoken out in recent years about several issues: police brutality, Trump’s travel ban, Colin Kaepernick‘s battle with the NFL and more. If history is any indication, players will likely raise their voices again for the culture this NBA season.
Perhaps James will rock sneakers with empowering messages like the kicks he wore with the word “Equality” last December. James, joined by Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade, could also send another powerful message at the 2019 ESPY Awards next July as they did at this year’s show.
“It’s not about being a role model, it’s not about our responsibility to the tradition of activism,” James said at the ESPY awards in July. “I know tonight we’re honoring Muhammad Ali, the GOAT, but to do his legacy any justice, let’s use this moment as call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence…”
Here is a look back on some of James and other NBA players’ big moments of activism.
WATCH: Miami Heat basketball star Dwayne Wade visited students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. pic.twitter.com/pk9rQQFiwr— NBC News (@NBCNews) March 8, 2018
NBA Cares ambassador and former player Jason Collins talks about Lakers Pride night and the rate of progress for LGBT acceptance in sports. pic.twitter.com/8HRqvbq9lJ— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) October 5, 2018
Here's the much talked-about gun violence PSA. Appearances from Steph Curry, Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah. pic.twitter.com/6qzczx2Ifa— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) December 25, 2015
.@stephencurry30, @johnwall & myself are teaming up to help with the #HurricaneFlorence relief efforts in the Carolinas! Donations will go to organizations on the ground helping the community - and any amount helps!! Join us by donating at https://t.co/3jOFgqEDzu pic.twitter.com/TIw6z2FNoK— Chris Paul (@CP3) September 20, 2018
The United States government "completely turned their back" on Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, NBA star Carmelo Anthony, whose father is Puerto Rican, tells @VanJones68 on #VanJonesShow https://t.co/bg6YEykBT3 pic.twitter.com/4mKzPL5JBW— CNN (@CNN) July 28, 2018
NBA star @StephenCurry30 wants young girls to grow up in a world where women are paid equally: "The pay gap is sending the wrong message to women about who they are, and how they’re valued, and what they can or cannot become."https://t.co/NafNyLCCRQ pic.twitter.com/yzW3BSpfcb— Good Morning America (@GMA) August 27, 2018