TORONTO – On Thursday night as part of the NBA’s re-opening night, both games featured teams joined together kneeling in protest while “The Star-Spangled Banner” played.
This is a trend that’s expected to continue around the league as the NBA and its players have made it a mission to ensure the fight for racial justice and against police brutality stays alive and well even as games resume.
The Toronto Raptors will almost assuredly be no exception to this but unlike the other 21 teams in the Disney World bubble with them, they have to worry about another anthem in addition to the U.S. one.
The Raptors play the Los Angeles Lakers in their restart opener Saturday night and in regards to the two anthems being played, as head coach Nick Nurse said Friday afternoon, “O Canada” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” will be treated as “one long song.”
“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 countries, 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.
“That’s not just Canada, America. That’s a lot of places. So we treat that as one long song tomorrow.”
It’s still unclear what this demonstration might be, but something does appear to be cooking with Nurse alluding on Thursday that “the players have that stuff figured out.”
What that “something” is Nurse wasn’t willing to share, but we’ll find out Saturday night and by the sounds of things Canada’s national anthem will be involved as well.
• Patrick McCaw and Oshae Brissett aren’t 100 per cent but “they’ll both be able to go as of right now,” Nurse said Friday of the status of the only two Raptors players that we know of who have been dealing with anything.
• On the eve of their season restart, the Raptors sound quite confident about their chances.
“We like to think we’re pretty good,” Nurse said with a chuckle. Then adding: “I think we’ve got some special players, I think we’ve got a good combination of experience with some energetic youth, I think we play defence and we really like to play defence.”
“I think we have a group of professionals that go out there and know their jobs and understand their roles, and I think that’s one thing I will say we have: True professionals and guys that want to win and continue to chase what we want to get again, and that’s to get a trophy at the end of this season,” Kyle Lowry said.
“Because I guess we have that confidence in us now. After last year, we believe in us,” Serge Ibaka said in response to why the team believes a long playoff run is in the cards for it. “I think it’s our confidence, nobody can take that from us, we trust each other, we know what to do to win.
“…No matter what’s going around out there, whatever they’re saying, I think that’s one thing they cannot take from us is our confidence. The confidence we have now and how we live with each other, how we know how to play with each other, I think is one thing that nobody can take that from us.”