Celtics players and coaches locked arms and held hands during the national anthem prior to their preseason game against the 76ers on Tuesday, joining other NBA teams who have continued the silent protests to draw attention to racial inequality in the United States.
Before the game, Celtics forward Jae Crowder said the Celtics’ focus was on promoting a message.
“That we need change in this world,” Crowder said. “We need to do it together. Just not one individual; it’s got to be a team-type deal, a unity, a togetherness. Whatever we decide our message to be, it has to be about being together as one and coming together as one.”
Horford said the Celtics got the idea from a picture of the 1960s Celtics in which their arms were locked and they were holding hands in a similar display of protest.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the team had numerous, productive discussions about both what to do during the anthem, and about the general issues facing the country.
“I think our guys are really focused on promoting positive unity, togetherness, progress, and all those types of things,” Stevens said. “But those have been deep, certainly good discussions. They’ve been great. And I commend our guys for sharing and for thinking and for really looking at this in a really insightful way.”
A few minutes before tipoff, the Celtics’ official Twitter account posted a 45-second video of the players discussing unity.