At the recently held NBA Awards function in Santa Monica in California, Oscar Robertson, a legend of the game, remarked that he was delighted to see athletes like LeBron James take a stand for various societal issues, but also implored white athletes to act in a similar manner. Speaking about after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award in the presence of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell, he did not hold back when asked how players in his time handled social activism and was he proud of the present crop in this regard.
Robertson responded that while players who grew up in the streets, or saw any form of injustice growing up, are responding to the society’s issues, lack of participation of white athletes was a point of bother for him. He added that players should not just be content with playing, but also stepping up to injustice and discrimination. Taking example of LeBron James, he asked athletes to be fearless in their interactions and actions, while also focusing on speaking their mind on education. He said that today’s system prohibits athletes from speaking their mind. During his time, Abdul-Jabbar and Russell were vocal about social issues and civil rights, and Robertson hopes that players of all colors get together to fight these issues, while warning that it would get really messy going forward.
Meanwhile, at the awards ceremony, James Harden of Houston Rockets was the recipient of the MVP award, beating the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Toronto Raptors’ Dwane Casey was the recipient of the Best Coach, with the Sixth Man award going to Lou Williams of L.A. Clippers, Rudy Gobert from Utah Jazz receiving the Best Defensive Player award, and Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons winning Rookie of the Year.