• Lakers star Dwight Howard backs Kyrie Irving in fight for racial equality
  • Howard said now is not the time for basketball and entertainment
  • Howard said he's willing to sacrifice his NBA championship run for the unity of his people

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Dwight Howard said he’s willing to sacrifice his first NBA championship run for the unity of his people.

People across the U.S. have been raging with anger following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer. Now, black athletes are joining the fight for racial equality and eradication of violence toward the black community.

In the NBA, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving has been vocal about the subject and even said that he will not play when the league returns. According to Irving, they want to use their time for activism and fight for a greater cause that concerns their families and community.

“I’m not with the systematic racism and the b---s---. Something smells a little fishy. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are targeted as black men every day we wake up,” he said.

Irving’s statement sparked more NBA stars to participate in the Black Lives Matter movement. One of them was Lakers center Howard. CNN’s Jill Martin revealed Howard’s full statement following Irving’s protest. According to the eight-time NBA All-Star, Irving was right as now is not the time for basketball and entertainment.

“I agree with Kyrie (Irving). Basketball, or entertainment period, isn’t needed at this moment, and will only be a distraction. Sure it might not distract us the players, but we have resources at hand the majority of our community don’t have. And the smallest distraction for them can start a trickle-down effect that may never stop,” Howard said.

More importantly, Howard is willing to lose the chance of winning his very first NBA title with the competitive Lakers team to take part in the call for unity of his people.

“I would love nothing more than to win my very first NBA Championship. But the unity of My People would be an even bigger Championship, that’s just to (sic) beautiful to pass up. What better time than now for us to be focusing on our families. This is a rare opportunity that, I believe, we as a community should be taking full advantage of. This is where our Unity starts. At home! With Family!!” Howard emphasized.

Prior to Irving and Howard’s statements, NBA legend and former San Antonio Spurs star Stephen Jackson had embraced the role of "vocal leader" in Floyd’s death.

Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard of the LA Lakers dunks during an NBA game against Charlotte Hornets. LA Times