On Nov. 7, a mass shooting took place at Borderline Bar Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, just over 40 miles from Staples Center. The shooting occurred during the bar’s College Country Night and took the lives of 13 after 30 rounds were fired. Following the event, many came together to advocate for stricter gun control, including the mother of a victim who was also at the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.
This past weekend, the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks players showed their support for the reform by wearing black shirts with ‘Enough.’ on the front and honored the victims with their names on the back. The Clippers played the Bucks on Saturday afternoon and the Lakers played the Hawks on Sunday night, both at Staples Center. The players repped these shirts during their pregame warmups and there was a moment of silence before Saturday’s game in remembrance of the event.
“It all comes back to this gun situation that we have in America and gun violence,” James said. “I don’t want to go into that right now, but I can do it at a later point. We know that these people are just being able to go and buy guns and do things with them, and innocent lives are being taken at young ages. Young ages.”
— ABC News (@ABC) November 12, 2018
The ‘Enough’ movement began on Thursday when the Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild wore decals during their hockey matchup at Staples Center. The Clippers took notice, promptly ordered T-shirts and invited the Bucks to support the cause.
The Los Angeles Kings are saying ‘Enough’ to gun violence after the Thousand Oaks shooting pic.twitter.com/QuCUW2SoPG
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 12, 2018
On Sunday, Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce also wore the shirt during his pre-game press conference and opened up about the subject.
“We can talk about gun control, you can talk about how to deal with everything that’s going on,” Pierce said, “but I think really, the shirt is just trying to solidify that there’s a presence in the NBA that’s thoughtful about the people that lost their lives, and the people that were present there, and just the community in Southern California, what everybody’s going through and trying to deal with this.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who was in attendance for Sunday’s game, acknowledged and supported the decision of the players to stand up for societal issues that are important to them, mentioning how they are citizens, not just basketball players. James praised the commissioner for allowing them so much freedom in standing up and speaking out in times like these. In the past, players have worn attire in protest or support of social issues. A few examples include when James and many others wore ‘I can’t breathe’ shirts in support of Eric Garner and the Black Lives Matter movement in 2014 and when Steve Nash wore a shirt that read ‘No War. Shoot for Peace.’ in protest of the Iraq War in 2003.
Although the Thousand Oaks shooting was a tragic time for America, the activism by many in NBA community in light of the events has once again demonstrated the progressive nature of the league and its allowance of free speech and social activism.