With the Rockets’ return to play Saturday afternoon, AT&T SportsNet Southwest devoted about half of its pregame show to the midweek work stoppage in Orlando and agreements between the NBA and players to promote social change initiatives.
Calvin Murphy, the former Rockets player and longtime studio analyst for the network, recalled previous times of social change initiatives in reflecting on events of the week.
“I was very proud that the athletes used the word ‘collectively,’” Murphy said. “This is my second tour of duty, if I can use that phrase. I grew up in the ‘60s during the era of social change that never really happened. We had five organizations and five different directions.
“To see the players unite together to make this thing work for the good of man in this country … you can get emotional about it, so I’m going to back off. But I was so proud of them.”
In discussion with show host Cayleigh Griffin, Murphy made an oblique reference to his own role as a champion twirler as well as a Hall of Fame basketball player.
“Basketball is a great sport but getting our lives in order is much more important,” he said. “To see the players taking the role of being the drum majors for this coming together and everybody following behind it, that just warms my heart.
“There are so many emotions that go through us as African-Americans, as black people, day to day. To see that the world is joining forces with us and finally understanding what we have been through, what we have tolerated.
“Listening to my mother and the folks before talk about it and not really understanding it until you really live it, and now that we have lived it, the younger generation is doing something about it together. That is putting your priorities in order.”
Murphy said he was hopeful that the momentum generated by the work stoppage and the joint efforts under consideration by the NBA and players will result in change.
“Things are going to start to happen right now,” he said. “It’s all about communication, and you’ve got to get to the people who can make these changes. It’s one thing for everybody to say the right thing, but you’ve got to get to the people who can make it happen and can make it happen right now.
“People are tired of waiting and saying ‘tomorrow.’ They want now, and this is what is starting to happen.”
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