Prior to the start of NBA preseason, the league released a memo to remind teams of the rule that requires players and coaches to stand during the national anthem. Since then, a few teams have announced that they would be protesting the national anthem by locking arms, while others revealed that they will not be participating in the protest at all.
However, amid the ongoing controversy, Kobe Bryant says if he were still playing today, he would be kneeling during the national anthem, despite the league rule. The retired Los Angeles Laker player revealed his decision on Wednesday, on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast.
“Kneel,” Bryant said, when asked what he would do if faced with the decision. When asked what he would say if he could speak to Donald Trump, he said he’s advise the celebrity-in-chief to “focus on serving, not leading.”
Bryant’s former team is one of many that have decided to lock arms during the anthem prior to the start of preseason games. The team’s coach discussed the decision last week saying, “We are in this together.”
“I think they chose to show that we are united in this and that obviously they have a ton of respect… well, I will let them speak for themselves, but I have a ton of respect for the country, the flag, the military,” Luke Walton said. “But by locking arms, I feel like we are showing that there are issues in this country, and it is a chance for us to raise awareness and still make it a talking point. If you do nothing, then it kind of goes away, and if it goes away, then nothing changes.”