LeBron James, Bill Russell, Coco Gauff, others celebrate Juneteenth: 'We celebrate Black liberation'

Athletes are amplifying their voices on Juneteenth. The occasion celebrates the day the last enslaved African Americans were informed of their freedom. That occurred in Galveston Bay, Texas, on June 19, 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

On Friday, a number of athletes, teams and professional leagues expressed their thoughts about Juneteenth. Some took the day as an opportunity to celebrate Black liberation, others used their platform to educate people and push for Juneteenth to become a national holiday.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was in the latter group. He asked why Juneteenth was not a national holiday in an Instagram post, and urged his fans to stay woke.

P.K. Subban of the New Jersey Devils, tennis star Coco Gauff and Miami Heat forward Jae Crowder were among the athletes celebrating the occasion.

Gauff, 16, also posted an explainer for those who don’t know what Juneteenth celebrates.

NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell also celebrated the occasion, but made sure people realize what Juneteenth is all about.

Edwin Jackson, Matt Kemp and Andrew McCutchen were among the athletes pushing to make Juneteenth a national holiday. The three posted a petition to make the day a holiday in the United States.

Justise Winslow and Caron Butler made similar points about making Juneteenth a national holiday.

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker and former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy gave their thoughts on Juneteenth in an article for USA Today.

Illinois coach Lovie Smith asked others to “Teach. Listen. Listen.”

A number of teams also posted about Juneteenth. While many teams posted statements, a few produced videos explaining the meaning of the day.

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