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NBA world reacts to Breonna Taylor decision
What I’m Hearing: Jeff Zillgitt is inside the NBA bubble and relays what the players and coaches are saying following the controversial decision made in the Breonna Taylor case.
The NBA is extending its influence in social justice reform from the hardwood to the Holy See.
Five players — Kyle Korver, Jonathan Isaac, Marco Belinelli, Sterling Brown and Anthony Tolliver — along with Players’ Association executive director Michele Roberts traveled to the Vatican for a meeting Monday with Pope Francis, according to multiple reports. Per ESPN, someone from the Vatican reached out to the NBPA last week to schedule the meeting, which had to be scheduled in short order with the 2020-21 season starting in a month.
The meeting was set to last about one hour, with the players and union officials touring St. Peter’s Square afterward. Plans of the meeting had not been leaked until early Monday.
Whether it was peaceful anthem protests, clear messaging on the courts and apparel or coordinating a wildcat strike in the aftermath of the Jacob Blake shooting, the NBA kept the spotlight on social justice and racial inequality throughout the summer from its Disney bubble — enough that the pope wanted to hear more about the efforts.
Brown, who signed with the Houston Rockets recently, settled a lawsuit this month against the Milwaukee Police Department after eight members used excessive force on him outside of a Walgreens in 2018. Isaac, meanwhile, was one of the few players and coaches to stand during the anthem while nearly everybody else knelt.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.