As cases of social injustice and police violence against the Black community took centre stage in the United States following the death of George Floyd, all 30 NBA franchises released statements in support of the Black community.
In response, a number of players and coaches, including Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce, took to the streets to participate in the peaceful protests across the country.
"The rallies are important. The protests are important. The marches are important," Pierce told the Undefeated earlier this year in June. "But really voting, education, legislation, building our community, all of those things are the new non-negotiables. We have to do those things."
The above-mentioned areas, especially voting, are where the NBA and its players began focusing on during the season's restart in the Orlando bubble. A majority of the players pushed the message forward by having league-approved social messages on the back of their jerseys.
Pierce, who became the Hawks coach at the beginning of the 2018-19 season, has been among the leading voices for the Hawks in these times of social turmoil. The Atlanta franchise was among the first teams to announce that its home arena, State Farm Arena, would be a voting site for the Georgia General Primary Runoff Election between July 20-Aug. 11 and an early voting site for the Presidential General Election and Special Election from Oct. 12-Oct.30.
As State Farm Arena opened its doors for the first day of early voting in the state of Georgia, Pierce walked his talk. As an election worker, he reported to his post at 8 a.m. at the arena and didn't budge till the voting closed for the day at 6 p.m.
Early voting has kicked off in Georgia at State Farm Arena, the 16,600-seat home of the Atlanta Hawks - and Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce is one of 300 polling staffers on hand pic.twitter.com/F8mRqdHIws- NowThis (@nowthisnews) October 17, 2020
"We've had many people fight for our right to vote," Pierce said. "It's a privilege and an honour, and it's our duty to uphold what so many people have fought for."
Not many recognized that the person standing in a black t-shirt with a mask on was the head coach of the Hawks franchise but for those who did, Pierce politely obliged for photo requests.
As early voting continues in various states and the election day nears, players, coaches and NBA franchises continue to spread the message to vote and create awareness around voter registration, mail-in voting and other important practices that would help their voice be heard.
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