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Kiah Stokes and Tyler Cook proud to see NBA and WNBA players bring awareness to racial injustice

Published: Aug. 30, 2020 at 1:09 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - This NBA and WNBA season was always going to be about more than just basketball. On Wednesday, both leagues postponed their games in protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Before the season started for each league, the players wanted to use their platform to raise awareness about racial injustice.

“Obviously with no players, there’s no NBA,” said former Hawkeye and current Denver Nuggets forward Tyler Cook. “And so, the guys realized how much power we have in this whole situation.”

“It kept coming up like, we don’t want to go into this bubble and be isolated because what’s the point?” said former Linn-Mar prep and current New York Liberty forward Kiah Stokes.

Both leagues have found ways to help players spread their message. Black Lives Matter is printed on every basketball court. NBA players were given permission to have messages printed on the back of their jerseys, including “I can’t breathe” and “Equality.” In the WNBA, players have Breonna Taylor’s name on the back of their jerseys.

On Saturday, both leagues started their seasons back up. Cook and Stokes hope the message doesn’t lose momentum.

“A lot of things nowadays, especially with social media, you can go viral; you’ll be famous on social media for two or three days and then you’re forgotten about,” said Stokes. “That’s the problem with all these cases and all these shootings. It’s so frequent that it gets forgotten.”

“I know personally, for me, I can’t rest without knowing that I’m doing something to stop this,” said Cook. “I know it’s going to take more -- this is something that’s been happening 400 years and it’s not going to be fixed within my lifetime, but I know that I can help.”

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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