The Denver Nuggets became the first NBA team to show solidarity and unity during the anthem Saturday night in the preseason opener against the defending champion Warriors.
The Nuggets, as a whole, linked arms as the Star-Spangled Banner played at the Oracle Arena.
Nuggets players and coaches lock arms during tonight's national anthem. pic.twitter.com/aganimIhe2
— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) October 1, 2017
Linking arms does not violate the league’s mandate but still gets the message across that these men from different backgrounds, different races, different nationalities, are unified in their stance against inequality.
The Lakers and Timberwolves followed suit later Saturday night in their preseason matchup. The two teams stood at the STAPLES Center facing each other, will their entire personnel linked by the arms.
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) October 1, 2017
Lakers’ head coach Luke Walton was the first coach to announce that this will be a familiar sight throughout the 2017-18 NBA season.
“We are in this together,” Walton said per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “I think they chose to show that we are united in this and that obviously, they have a ton of respect … well, I will let them speak for themselves, but I have a ton of respect for the country, the flag, the military.
“But by locking arms, I feel like we are showing that there are issues in this country, and it is a chance for us to raise awareness and still make it a talking point. If you do nothing, then it kind of goes away, and if it goes away, then nothing changes.”
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) October 1, 2017
Walton added that as it stands, it will be an every game occurrence for the Lakers.
“I see it as an every night thing but I guess time will tell.
“It is important for me, for the players and for our country to continue to talk and be active and get out in the community and do things that makes this country better and equal for opportunities and for everybody that lives here,” Walton said. “I think that is why the players and team decided to do that.”