WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - No NBA playoff games were played on Thursday—the players were protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Former professional tennis player Lenny Simpson, who grew up in Wilmington, remembers the civil rights movement of the 1960s very well. He believes that the NBA players are trying force change by banding together.
“I definitely think they’re trying to do it as a group to show solidarity, to show unification, which I think is great,” said Simpson. “Anytime you have strength in numbers, and especially the high-profile athletes in this country, is good.”
Simpson fully supports what the NBA players have done, but hopes they have a plan moving forward. “All that’s great and I love what they are doing,” said Simpson. “But you better have a final plan behind that. You better know where this is going and what you’re trying to get to in the end.”
Simpson, who’s 71-years-old, says that change takes time and can be very slow. He believes things are better than when he grew up, but more needs to be done.
“If you think you are oppressed now,” said Simpson. “I would like to take you back to when I grew up...how oppressed we felt as a non-citizen, as a non-person, not as a human being. So, equality has taken place, no question. But will we be ever on the same identical playing filed? I don’t know if I’ll see that in my lifetime.”
The NBA is not the only league that did not play Thursday, the NHL postponed all games along with seven Major League Baseball games.