By Antonis Stroggylakis/ email@example.com
Toronto Raptors center Marc Gasol is confident that the social justice messages that he and his fellow NBA players are sending during the NBA restart will remain powerful enough to stay in the spotlight for the rest of the season and even longer.
“The message will continue to be sent throughout the regular season and the playoffs and beyond that,” Gasol said in a zoom call after being asked if the resumption of the season might steal some of the attention from the social justice messages. “I don’t worry too much about diluting the message because it’s really strong and it goes beyond sports. I’m sure we’re going to do a good job of continuing to reinforce it.”
Gasol will be wearing “Justice” on the back of his jersey during the rest of the 2019-2020 season. He and his Raptors teammates arrived in Orlando with the “Black Lives Matter” slogan on their outfits.
During his stint with the Memphis Grizzlies, Gasol had the opportunity to be further educated on racial issues by visiting the National Civil Rights Museum that is built around Lorraine Motel, the place where Martin Luther King was assassinated.
“One of the first things that we did as a team is to go to the Lorraine Motel. If you have a chance, I’d advise you to go,” Gasol said. “The history is still there and the education is still there to be taught. There are a lot of leaders in the Memphis community area that can really help you. Yes, you have to learn a lot and see how much of a struggle and how African-American people lacked opportunity throughout history. How hard they had to work to get that opportunity to be where they are now and they are still not where they are supposed to be. ”
“It’s a work in progress but with all the allies and all the people pushing to it, we’re going to get for sure to where we want to be,” Gasol added.
The Raptors will look to defend their championship title minus their 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. Gasol believes that the potential strength of his team as a cohesive unit can erase the lack of such a superstar.
“I look at it differently,” Gasol said when asked about the Raptors being without a Top 5 players in the league. “What’s more important. You got to just find the way to be the best team possible because, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how good players you have on your side. You will win it as a team. And it takes a whole team to win the championship, a playoff series. Let’s focus on that, the thing we can control and be the best team we can be.
“Everybody has a lot of players and staff but for me, I always feel that the best team wins, regardless of who they have on their roster.”