Reports: Just 20% of eligible NBA players voted in last election

NBA vote
David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Many NBA players want to make the United States a better place. They’ve protested, demonstrated, organized, donated, spoken out and even struck.

While players met about whether to continue the strike (which they ultimately ended), an eye-opening number emerged.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

Yet, only about 20% of eligible NBA players voted in the last election.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers:

In the meeting, it came up. In the players’ meeting, that, “Let’s walk the walk. We can’t just do the talk.” And it’s all the players.

I think it was like 20 percent of the players voted in the last election or something like that and, to a man, they all – we’re going to get them registered here in the bubble. We are going to try to get every team registered, every player registered to vote.

It’s so difficult for players because most of the time it’s in the middle of the season, and players are from so many different states, that it’s a lot of absentee voting.

And we’re going to get them all done. We want to get it up in the 80s, 90s, 100, if possible, percentile as far as players and coaches voting.

It’s unclear who determined that 20% figure and how. Perhaps, the union surveyed its members.

For perspective, about 61% of voting-age citizens voted in the 2016 presidential election. However, that was 46% among 18-to-29-year-olds – an age range that covered most NBA players.

But it’s also unclear which election this refers to. There have been elections – primary, midterm, local, etc. – since the 2016 presidential election.

Addressing the racism plaguing this country isn’t just about the presidency. The United States has had issues of racial injustice long before Donald Trump. Local politicians have plenty of power to change policy, especially with policing.

There’s also only so much American NBA players can do.  They aren’t a huge number of people in context of the entire country. They aren’t as wealthy and connected as the ultra-rich. They don’t hold political office.

But they can vote.

They can vote for people who recognize the width and depth of racism in this country, who are are committed to addressing the problem. It’s not about one race or even one election. It will take years to solve this.

That’s unsatisfying, of course. Anything longer than instant is too long. But every vote is a concrete step in the right direction.