LeBron James says he hopes 'we made Colin Kaepernick proud' after NBA players, coaches and refs ALL kneel in protest of racism as the league re-opens its season in the Disney bubble

It hardly resembled the league that abruptly adjourned its season at the onset of the pandemic 141 days earlier, but the NBA made its return inside the Disney World bubble on Thursday night as every member of the Pelicans, Jazz, Clippers, and Lakers protested racism during the national anthem.   
'I hope we made [Colin Kaepernick] proud,' LeBron James said after his Lakers' 103-101 win over the Clippers, referring to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who famously protested inequality by kneeling during the anthem throughout the 2016 NFL season.   
On courts emblazoned with the words 'Black Lives Matter,' players in BLM warmups, coaches, and even officials knelt and locked arms in a demonstration that technically violated a 39-year-old league rule requiring everyone to stand for The Star-Spangled Banner.
But as NBA commissioner Adam Silver explained during Utah's 106-104 win over New Orleans in the early game, the circumstances have changed considerably since May 25, when African-American man George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody. 
'I respect our teams' unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem,' Silver said in a statement.  
Lakers coach Frank Vogel (far right) kneels alongside Clippers coach Doc River and Lakers teammates Anthony Davis and LeBron James before Thursday's game at Disney World
Lakers coach Frank Vogel (far right) kneels alongside Clippers coach Doc River and Lakers teammates Anthony Davis and LeBron James before Thursday's game at Disney World  
Colin Kaepernick started the protests with the San Francisco 49ers in 2016
'I hope we made [Colin Kaepernick] proud,' LeBron James said after his Lakers' 103-101 win over the Clippers, referring to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who famously started protesting racial inequality by kneeling during the anthem throughout the 2016 season.
LeBron James (right) said he hopes his teammates made Colin Kaepernick (left) proud Thursday by kneeling in protest of racist police brutality during the national anthem 
Players and coaches from the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans re-opened the NBA season on Thursday by kneeling in protesting and locking arms during the playing of the anthem
Players and coaches from the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans re-opened the NBA season on Thursday by kneeling in protesting and locking arms during the playing of the anthem
Jazz and Pelicans players kneel during the national anthem
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On a court emblazoned with the words ' Black Lives Matter ,' players wearing BLM warmups knelt and locked arms in a demonstration that technically violated a 39-year-old league rule requiring everyone to stand for the American and Canadian anthems
On a court emblazoned with the words ' Black Lives Matter ,' players wearing BLM warmups knelt and locked arms in a demonstration that technically violated a 39-year-old league rule requiring everyone to stand for the American and Canadian anthems
Jazz guard Mike Conley had 'I Am A Man' emblazoned on his jersey
The Pelican's Jrue Holiday had 'Say Their Names' on the back of his jersey
Not only are NBA players suddenly allowed to protest during the anthem, as many NFL players have done since 2016, but league jerseys now feature social justice messages, like 'Black Lives Matter' and 'Equality.' Jazz guard Mike Conley had 'I Am A Man' emblazoned on his jersey while the Pelican's Jrue Holiday had 'Say Their Names' on the back of his. 
LeBron James's former Heat teammate Chris Bosh was among the digital fans in attendance
LeBron James's former Heat teammate Chris Bosh was among the digital fans in attendance 

Not only are NBA players suddenly allowed to protest during the anthem, as many NFL players have done since 2016, but league jerseys now feature social justice messages, like 'Black Lives Matter' and 'Equality.'  
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, wears a protective face mask as he looks at his cellphone during Thursday's game
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, wears a protective face mask as he looks at his cellphone during Thursday's game 
'It's so important at this point for us to be unified and be able to peacefully protest many of the critical things that are going on in the country right now,' said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. 
While the players appeared unified in their support of the BLM movement on Thursday, they know they face opposition, although Pelicans guard JJ Redick thinks the tide is turning in favor of social justice. 
'The majority of Americas support what is happening right now,' Redick said after Thursday's loss. 'The majority of Americans want real equality, they want to end police brutality.
'The "stick to sports" crowd, "keep politics out of sports," all those things, they're meaningless now,' he continued. 'Politics and sports coexist now. And the league has recognized that.'   
And that's not all that changed since the NBA stopped play back on March 11.
There aren't any fans in attendance, health and safety protocols are now paramount, and teams can't even shower in the arena after games. 
But after 20 weeks of waiting, wondering and worrying, the 2019-20 NBA season is restarting with a champion scheduled to be crowned in October. 
Virtual fans could be seen on the scoreboards surrounding the courts at Disney World
Virtual fans could be seen on the scoreboards surrounding the courts at Disney World
All NBA head coaches are wearing a patch that reads 'Racial Justice' during the league restart
All NBA head coaches are wearing a patch that reads 'Racial Justice' during the league restart
Kawhi Leonard arrives prior to a game against the Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James arrives to the arena before the game against the LA Clippers
Masked rivals Kawhi Leonard (left) and LeBron James (right) arrived before Thursday's game 
LeBron James says he hopes 'we made Colin Kaepernick proud' after NBA players, coaches and refs ALL kneel in protest of racism as the league re-opens its season in the Disney bubble LeBron James says he hopes 'we made Colin Kaepernick proud' after NBA players, coaches and refs ALL kneel in protest of racism as the league re-opens its season in the Disney bubble Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 02:00 Rating: 5

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