Throughout the Lakers’ time in the bubble, no player was as consistent as Danny Green in talking about issues of racism and police brutality. He opened every news conference by mentioning it out of a desire to make use of his platform.
Understanding the power of his platform is also part of why Green has made sure to pay attention to the sponsorships and brands with which he aligns.
“It’s not just your job to play basketball and make money — you have a lot more to do,” Green said Thursday. “As an adult, you pay attention to more especially when you have kids, especially when you’re in certain communities and you have, you’re successful and you still have family members and friends living in the communities that you grew up in being treated a certain way.”
Green is promoting an initiative he joined between the NBA players' union and the company Dove. The initiative seeks to change the way Black men are represented in advertising and other forms of media as well as show support for policies that promote public safety and voting rights. One piece of legislation for which they advocate is the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, a comprehensive police reform legislation that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June and is headed to the Senate.
The campaign’s mission statement is “to create a world where Black men and boys are cared for, respected, supported, and protected.”
Green sees changing stereotypes about Black men as an important step toward that.
“There’s a reason why certain stereotypes become certain stereotypes,” Green said. “Because you hear it over and over. You used to hear it over and over. If we start a new stereotype or a new mantra or a new M.O. for certain types of people, if we keep saying it over and over it’ll become the new norm for us. We’re not as harmful or as violent as people make us seem to be, people will respect us more, support us more.”
Joining this initiative is one of the many ways Green has kept busy since returning from the NBA bubble after winning his third championship with as many teams. He’s done some work for his podcast "Inside the Green Room," where he caught peoples' attention for mentioning a sore Achilles tendon, which caused many to conclude he was injured during the Finals.
“If I was hurt I wouldn’t have played,” Green said. “… When we landed back here, all those bumps and bruises came back to light. The adrenaline wore off. You’re back home and took a five-hour flight. It was nothing that was major that was keeping me from — I had no injuries that would keep me from playing. I don’t want that story to be out there I was playing hurt. I was fine. I was playing. Just like everybody else I had bumps and bruises. It was all worth it. We got it done.”
He got engaged during the COVID-19 hiatus and started wedding planning in the bubble. Now back home, he’s taken a break from that. The Lakers have had a few private celebrations that he’s attended, but otherwise he’s mostly focused on reconnecting with his dogs.
“I’ll probably plan a family vacation, it’s a weird time of the year, fall-winter, I’ll probably plan a family vacation around Thanksgiving,” Green said.
Through all that, Green is making an effort to continue speaking out against injustices.
His last interview in the bubble was an example of that. Green had been told about the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Green decided that in addition to speaking about American victims of police brutality, he would offer support for Armenians.
“I know there’s a big community of it in Los Angeles and California of Armenians,” Green said. “I wanted to make it known … that I know what’s going on and I’m behind them, I’m trying to support them as best I can.
“Everybody looks at it as something huge but I’m just doing my small part and using my voice. Trying to make it be known and aware, bring awareness to it. That’s the easy part. Obviously I’d love to get out there and find a way to physically help the things, unjust things, that are going on in the world, but you can’t always do it. So I’m doing my small part and do whatever I can from where I’m at and using my voice to help them as best I can.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.