It was hard not to be touched by the peaceful protest the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers performed during the national anthem Thursday night.
The two teams locked arms and got down to their knees as the Star-Spangled Banner played throughout the stadium.
"I hope we made Kap proud," LeBron James said referring to Colin Kaepernick who started taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016.
The protest came after the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans opened the NBA's return with a similarly peaceful protest in which they got down on their knees during the playing of the national anthem.
"I think it was beautiful. I think it was amazing," said Raptors guard Kyle Lowry who attended the Lakers-Clippers game in person. "I think it set the tone for what we’re down here for. Those four teams, including coaches in the organization, I think it was beautiful what they did and they did it in unison. And for us to be able to do that in our league, support us, and our players and all of us being one. Yes, we’re all competitors and, yes, we want to beat each other, but at the end of the day, we’re out here trying to get some social justice and trying to get things changed and keep the conversation going and doing more to make sure that the next generation doesn’t have to go through what we’ve gone through."
Lowry said seeing the protest made him think of all the Black men and women who have lost their lives due to racialized violence and police brutality.
"What was going through my head was justice for Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Eric Garner, all these guys, all these Black human beings, Black men and Black women, being killed in cold blood," he said. "You know, that stuff hits hard and I have two young children and I would hate to have that happen to them or happen to me or anyone in my family or anyone I know. I couldn’t imagine going through that and I think all of that was playing in my head."
Raptors coach Nick Nurse echoed Lowry's feelings. He said he thought the protests were very impactful.
"I thought you could feel it stirring some emotions in your heart, you know, and in your mind," Nurse said. "I’m sure a lot of people felt as I did."
The Raptors are planning to do some sort of protest during the anthem tomorrow when their seeding schedule begins against the Lakers. Though Nurse wouldn't say what the team had planned, he said he wants the message to be sent throughout both Canada and the United States.
"We certainly have our issues with police brutality in Canada. We don’t want anyone to confuse that, it’s certainly an area Canada needs to work on as well," Nurse said. "This isn’t about the borders, to me it’s about continuing to shine the light on that we need to do better in police brutality area, we need to do better in the systemic racism area."