Before the San Antonio Spurs opened the season during a home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the players locked arms in a display of unity after the national anthem played. Retired Spurs greats David Robinson and Tim Duncan also participated in the symbolic act.
"It was good, that’s the meaning of it, unity. Being united, being one," said Spurs’ Rudy Gay to KSAT in San Antonio. "We’ve been divided for a long time and it was all shapes, colors, sizes in that arena tonight and for everybody to be on the same page meant a lot."
"There are things happening in our communities that need our attention," read a message on the Spurs’ arena video board. "We understand your desire to attend our games as an escape and chosen form of entertainment. In that, we feel there is a significant commonality in all of us that allows our community to be so special.
"That commonality should include aspirations for social justice, freedom of speech in its many forms, and equal opportunity for education, and economic advancement regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or religion. It is our hope that we can, as a community, inspire and evoke real change. We ask that you join with us in your daily lives in the pursuit of equality."
The Spurs’ act of unity follows a controversial statement by Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who called President Trump a "soulless coward" in a recent article in The Nation.
#Spurs HC Gregg Popovich thanks fans for reaction to message on video board, players locking arms after anthem #KSATnews #KSATsports pic.twitter.com/9UjBaJrFTq
— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) October 19, 2017