Last summer, NBA players said they were done playing America’s games. Fed up with national apathy with the senseless killing of Black Americans by law enforcement, the Milwaukee Bucks put their foot down and on Aug. 26, they boycotted their playoff game, changing how America’s elite athletes used their superstar platform. The game no longer just spoke for itself; the players had a loud voice too.
While this day was a clear indicator of the rise in power of NBA players, it was by no means the beginning. Michael Jordan marketed his stardom to become a worldwide celebrity, and he leveraged that position to become the richest athlete of all time.
Jordan was the forerunner of NBA superstars becoming international cultural icons, but contemporary superstars such as Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards have used their fame to actively speak out on social justice issues.
Today, though, those same superstars seem…