LeBron James and Chris Paul were part of a small group of NBA players that received advice from former President Barack Obama in recent days as players from the league decided on how to proceed amid on-going social justice protests.
"As an avid basketball fan, President Obama speaks regularly with players and league officials. When asked he was happy to provide advice on Wednesday night to a small group of NBA players seeking to leverage their immense platforms for good after their brave and inspiring strike in the wake of Jacob Blake's shooting," Katie Hill, a spokeswoman for Obama, said in a statement to The New York Times.
"They discussed establishing a social justice committee to ensure that the players' and league's actions this week led to sustained, meaningful engagement on criminal justice and police reform."
According to ESPN's Tim Bontemps, Obama was in favor of the players returning to play once the players were able to work with the owners to implement actionable change items.
On Thursday, NBA players reportedly voted to resume the 2020 playoffs, one day removed from players on the Milwaukee Bucks deciding to sit out of Game 5. vs in the Magic. The Bucks elected to sit out to protest the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis..
"I commend the players on the Bucks for standing up for what they believe in, coaches like Doc Rivers, and the NBA and WNBA for setting an example. It’s going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values," Obama said in a tweet Wednesday.
The NBA and NBPA released a joint-statement Friday stating that they will resume play and that both parties will immediately establish a social justice coalition, convert arena facilities into voting locations and create and include advertising spots in playoff games that promote greater civic engagement.
"These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community," NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
The NBA playoffs are set to resume Saturday afternoon.