Landry Shamet: 'Why is it all falling on us, the Black athlete?'

Landry Shamet discusses the players-only meeting that occurred when NBA players boycotted games.
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August 26th, 2020 was a historic day. All eyes were on the NBA, as its players decided to boycott playing basketball games in the wake of Jacob Blake's shooting in Wisconsin.

On the same day Colin Kaepernick kneeled for the first time, NBA players honored his legacy four years later by boycotting playing because of police brutality. There were reports that the Clippers and Lakers were the only teams who chose to cancel the NBA season. After multiple meetings with players and coaches, a decision was made to resume the season.

Landry Shamet spoke with J.J. Redick on “The Old Man and the Three” (H/T Sabreena Merchant) podcast about the state of America, Jacob Blake's shooting, and what occurred in the players-only meeting.

"There’s so many different teams, and you put that many people in one room, there’s gonna be different perspectives," Shamet said. "That’s a blessing and benefit of having these conversations. And to be fair, that vote wasn’t us saying we don’t want to play basketball. It was just simply a poll of what we thought was best to do, and that’s what came out of our team. And to be honest, I felt like and still feel like maybe there’s more people that kind of might have felt that way. But given the setting and the amount of peers around, you might not have been as blunt and open.”

It seems like any time these killings happen, all eyes are on the NBA, specifically because they're a league of black athletes. While Shamet understands the responsibility of his platform, it's a privilege he doesn't understand why others don't use it.

The players are truly in a lose-lose situation when it comes to boycotting the season. They could lose money, cost jobs for others in the bubble, and have already sacrificed so much. On the same end, the players feel like they're losing their voices by playing. The big question is figuring out how to use a voice while playing at the same time.

"Ultimately, basketball makes everyone here happy," Shamet said. "That’s what we want to do, but when there’s an opportunity to speak on something that we’re passionate about, and right now there’s a lot of that, we continue to take those opportunities."