(Reuters) – Players from the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans bowed their heads and knelt during the playing of the U.S. national anthem while wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts as the NBA returned for the first time since the coronavirus halted play in March.
Coaches and officials joined the players in taking a knee to protest against racial injustice and police brutality at the first NBA game in 140 days.
Black Lives Matter was also written on the court at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, where the NBA plans to finish its season with 22 teams inside a bio-secure bubble.
The Jazz are in fourth place in the Western Conference while the 10th-placed Pelicans are hoping to make a playoff push.
The top two teams in the Western Conference, the Lakers and Clippers, will face off in an all-Los Angeles battle later on Thursday.
Athletes from around the world have united in solidarity behind anti-racism protests sparked by the death in May of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
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New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz, NBA, Zion Williamson
World news – CA – NBA: Players protest racial injustice as league returns to action