Draymond Green questions why Raptors put Black Lives Matter on team bus

Arun Srinivasan
·Writer

The Toronto Raptors continue to use their platform to advocate for Black Lives Matter and ending systemic racism as the NBA inches closer towards the resumption of the 2019-20 season.

Toronto entered the NBA’s bubble in Orlando on July 9 with three busses reading Black Lives Matter in a large font, and the rest of the basketball world certainly took notice.

The Raptors continue to do the work and are intent on keeping the focus on Black lives with their season slated to resume on Aug. 1, and part of that work entails clearing up misconceptions when it comes to Black people and systemic racism in Canada.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri spoke to Charles Barkley and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green on Thursday, during an interview on NBA on TNT, where the latter congratulated Ujiri on last year’s title, before making an incorrect assumption about the team’s need for leadership and accountability when it comes to Black people in Canada.

“You guys have on your bus ‘Black Lives Matter’ and as a Canadian team, it doesn’t directly impact your team because you’re in an entirely different country. What made you guys take the stand and put it on your bus — I think one of 22 teams that actually went through with it — where did the idea come from and why did you guys feel the need to push that through?” Green asked Ujiri.

Ujiri reiterated that the Raptors have a responsibility to create awareness and use their platform for good, while issuing praise for Green and the Warriors’ own efforts towards eradicating systemic racism.

“For us, we said we were going to use the bubble as a statement. We said we’re going to use this place as a platform,” Ujiri said. “We thought that coming in here, you have to make a statement, you have to, for me, you have to create awareness. What you guys are doing over there is creating awareness, you’re talking about this. We have to continue to do that.

“We thought what greater way than to ride through Florida for three hours and show people, we know what’s going on in the country, and we’re heading to the bubble. What is going on here, what Adam Silver has done here to get the league back, we’re excited about that but there’s something on our minds, too. We wanted to show people that as we come in, not just the Toronto Raptors, we represent the NBA. That there’s something on the minds of all the players and all the teams.”

Raptors forward Chris Boucher, one of two Canadians on the roster, directly addressed Green’s line of questioning, pointing out that Black Canadians are directly affected by systemic racism.

Boucher also noted that he intends for this discussion to be a conversation with Green.

The Raptors continue to be a championship organization on and off the court, and have more proved they can defend their title among one of the most hotly contested draws in years, while showing leadership in anti-racism and standing up for Black lives.

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