The two teams kneeled and locked arms near center court, where Black Lives Matter is painted before a recording of artist Neyo singing the national anthem.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who acknowledged that the teams had intentions to kneel together, locked his arms with Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. The four teams that played opening night on Thursday, also locked arms and kneeled during the anthem.
"I think that the reality is that we want to take a knee because we care," Stevens said prior to the protest. "We want to take a knee because we're pushing for a higher ideal of equality, more justice, and we want to make sure we do our part in that."Stevens also made it a point to explain that taking a knee has nothing to do with disrespecting the flag, anthem or shows a lack of support towards the troops.
"In fact, we're so thankful that our military has allowed us the freedom to do this, and show that we care, and show that we are pushing for a more equal, more just United States," Stevens explained. "And I think we owe that to all of those people that have sacrificed over time to do our part to make sure we're all living up to those ideals that we espouse."Following the Celtics 119-112 loss to the Bucks, Marcus Smart shared his thoughts on the two teams' peaceful protest.
Marcus Smart called the kneeling before the game "a historical moment": "It was something that hit home for a lot of guys."— Boston.com Celtics News (@BDCCeltics) August 1, 2020
Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum spoke of the teams coming together for a common cause during his chat with media after the Celtics practice session.
"It was special, just to see the NBA and players and teams come together and stand for something and be unified," said Tatum Saturday afternoon."I think that's the main reason, to use our platform individually and as a collective."
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