The Milwaukee Bucks have a 6.5-game lead in the Eastern Conference, and a real chance to win a championship once the NBA returns on July 31. Bucks swingman Kyle Korver has never won a championship, but he knows that since the killing of George Floyd there are more important things happening in the world.
Despite the opportunity to win it all, Korver — who has never won an NBA title in his 17-year career — is ready to sit out the rest of the season if that’s what his Black teammates think is best.
Korver stands with his Black teammates
On SportsCenter’s Instagram Live on Tuesday, Korver told ESPN’s Richard Jefferson that he’s in full support of whatever his Black teammates decide to do with the rest of the NBA season.
"If my Black teammates and friends and brothers feel like the best way to go about real change is to not play, I stand with them. I'm OK with that,” Korver said. “If we think that is the best way for change, I care more about change happening than a championship.”
Korver didn’t deny that winning a championship would be important to him, as it would be to any NBA player. While there’s a faction of NBA players who want to sit out the rest of the season to support the movement against police brutality and systemic racism, Korver and others are hoping to find a way to both play and support the movement. Regardless of the path they choose, Korver knows that the NBA has to step up and do its part — and told ESPN that he’s still waiting for that to happen.
"But, again, I'm going to follow the lead of my Black brothers and teammates on this, and I stand with them in whatever they want to do," Korver said. "That's what I want to do. I want change to happen, and I want to be a part of that in whatever role that I can, but I am also waiting for the NBA. I think there's an opportunity in Orlando for us to be like, 'Hey, how can we highlight change?' The NFL's come out with the $250 million and kind of their pledge of how they're going to be about change, but what's the NBA going to do? I happen to believe that the NBA is the best league, by far, and I'm so hopeful for what they're going to come out with."
Korver understands that he’s “privileged”
Korver is no stranger to the conversation about systemic racism and white privilege. The veteran penned “Privileged,” a personal essay for The Players’ Tribune in 2019 which discussed his own white privilege. Following an incident in which a Utah Jazz fan yelled racist things at Russell Westbrook, Korver listened to his Black Jazz teammates discuss the racism they face every day. He realized that he, unlike them, has the option to disengage from that because he’s white. And he couldn’t allow himself to do that anymore.
“The fact that inequality is built so deeply into so many of our most trusted institutions is wrong,” Korver wrote. “And I believe it’s the responsibility of anyone on the privileged end of those inequalities to help make things right.”
Korver’s trying to do what he promised last year: listen, learn, and support his Black teammates and colleagues in the fight to end systemic racism. He’s ready to follow their lead no matter what they decide to do.
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