76ers' Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris Joined Crucial Players Conference Call Friday
On Friday, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving conducted a conference call among over 80 NBA players to discuss concerns with the NBA's return-to-play in Orlando, Florida, next month. Just last week, the NBA's Board of Governors approved Adam Silver's proposal to send 22 teams to Disney World to compete in eight regular-season games and play in a standard playoff format to conclude the 2019-2020 season.
But as COVID-19 is still spreading, and United States citizens around the country continue to protests against racism and police brutality, Irving believes players should take a step back and think about whether the NBA is doing the right thing by having everybody continue the season next month or not.
Among the call on Friday were two members of the Philadelphia 76ers, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Embiid hasn't been all that vocal during the hiatus, but Tobias Harris has been quite the opposite.
Over the last couple of weeks, Harris has sent out a series of tweets regarding today's issues in terms of social injustice. In addition to social media, Harris has also written a thoughtful piece in The Players' Tribune as well as getting out and protesting with thousands of Philadelphians downtown.
It's unclear if Embiid or Harris are supportive of the return next month or not, but they were on call to hear Irving and others' opinions firsthand. Reports indicate that Kyrie Irving is concerned that when basketball comes back, the games will become a distraction and take the focus off of the country-wide protests for George Floyd.
Also, Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell raised concern about ramping up basketball activity in such a short amount of time to try and finish a tainted season. After not playing for over three months, Mitchell and other players believe that doing so much working out in such little time can put players at-risk for a significant injury.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_