Far be it from NBA players to step foot inside Donald Trump’s White House, but as reported by ESPN, five players and representatives from the league jetted to the Vatican for a private audience with Pope Francis on Monday to discuss the NBA’s efforts to combat “racial injustice,” “economic inequality,” “hungry poor people,” and stuff.
Pope Francis Meeting With 5 NBA Players at Vatican to Discuss Social Justice https://t.co/9saekxcHl9
— TMZ (@TMZ) November 23, 2020
According to ESPN, the “delegation” included Kyle Korver of the Milwaukee Bucks; Sterling Brown of the Houston Rockets; Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic, the secretary-treasurer of the players’ union; Anthony Tolliver of the Memphis Grizzlies; Marco Belinelli of the San Antonio Spurs; and Michele Roberts, executive director of the union.
An assistant to the pope initiated the unprecedented meeting, as reported by ESPN. Here’s how Cindy Wooden, Rome Bureau Chief for Catholic News Service, described the “conclave” between the players and il Papa:
“Pope Francis met today with reps of the NBA Players Association to talk about their efforts to promote racial equality, social justice & to feed the poor.”
No doubt Francis furiously nodded in approval over every “injustice” he was
lied to told about.
— Cindy Wooden (@Cindy_Wooden) November 23, 2020
No word if noted law enforcement expert LeBron James tagged along to scoop the pope on the “dos and don’ts” of proper police “etiquette” when dealing with crazed bad guys with weapons intent on doing bad things.
— New York Post (@nypost) November 23, 2020
Apparently, the guys all chipped in on a commemorative basketball and an Orlando Magic jersey for the pope. Is it just me or would you love to see Francis sporting the jersey over his robe during his next important
political speech address to the faithful?
Pope Francis is now the proud owner of a commemorative basketball and an Orlando Magic jersey, after meeting with representatives from the NBPA earlier today at the Vatican. pic.twitter.com/KItmmVQ3VJ
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) November 23, 2020
Following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in May, the NBA stepped up its political activism — along with the NFL and to a lesser extent, Major League Baseball — from “normal” protests during the pregame playing of the national anthem to, for example, replacing players’ names on the backs of their jerseys with “social justice” messages.
In June, former player Stephen Jackson, who
opportunistically claimed he was friends with Floyd, suggested that playing the 2020 NBA season would “take the attention off what we [sic] fighting for.”
Also in June, the league announced it would paint “Black Lives Matter” on the sidelines of courts prior to the season’s restart.
As for the meeting with the pope, which ESPN said was “kept very quiet,” players plan to discuss it with the media sometime after returning to the U.S. on Tuesday morning.
No word if LeBron will be in attendance to launch into a factless diatribe against America’s police officers.