Andre Iguodala is heading to his sixth consecutive NBA Finals. His past five season with the Golden State Warriors earned him three rings and a Finals MVP trophy. He was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies where he made a deal allowing him to train on his own while the Grizzlies kept a fifteenth spot open.
On February 6, Iguodala was traded to the Miami Heat in a three-team trade that brought Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill along with him.
After the self-imposed hiatus due to the coronavirus outbreak, the NBA created the bubble in Orlando. In light of the events causing protest in America - specifically the death of George Floyd - players and the league took to messaging Black Lives Matter as part of their re-emergence.
The term Black Lives Matter graces the hardwood as well as many of the jerseys of players who participated in the bubble.
Some of the other approved messages are Say Their Names, Vote, I Can’t Breathe, Justice, Peace, Equality, Freedom, Enough, Power to the People, Justice Now, Say Her Name, Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can), Liberation, See Us, Hear Us, Respect Us, Love Us, Listen, Listen to Us, Stand Up, Ally, Anti-Racist, I Am A Man, Speak Up, How Many More, Education Reform and Mentor, as well as many of these in native languages of the internationally born players.
Anthony Tolliver and Andre Iguodala, members of the NBPA’s executive committee, advocated for “Group Economics” to be included on the list of acceptable social justice messages players could choose for their jerseys. They learned the term six year ago from David West.
Only three players chose to wear Group Economics in the bubble- Tolliver, Iguodala and Jabari Parker.
Group economics refers to a group of people who have a common economic interest, in this instance people of color. The commonality motivates people to pursue that interest in order to create a secure economy for all participants in that group. It is a direct reference to the laws that have been created since the Civil War to keep black people in servitude to white capitalism. This has evolved from, but not been limited to, banking and home ownership rules specifically to segregate minorities and keep generational wealth from being an option for a vast number of families.
He believes that investing in Black businesses and communities will play a significant role in building generational wealth. That, in part, will reduce racial inequality in education, housing and hiring practices, he says.
“We’re still trying to make equal grounding for our next generation,” Iguodala said. “Right now we’re part of the progress, but we have to continue to think bigger than ourselves with a lot of our decisions. We’re in a position where we can gain some wealth being professional athletes. But at the same time, the majority of our people are still bogged down in an oppressive state. So we have to pull them up with us.”
Iguodala, a noted businessman outside of basketball, has made money in Silicon valley during his time with the Warriors. He also joined with Comcast Venture’s Catalyst Fund, with investments in Black, Latinx and women start-up businesses.
The NBA swingman dives deep into books on business trends and racial issues. Two books that have shaped his recent BLM jersey message are “The Four” by Scott Galloway and Manning Marable’s “How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America,” which explains how the white and Black community have operated under a different set of rules in the free market system.
“It’s essentially how systemic oppression doesn’t allow us to buy from our own communities, or get loans to build businesses so we can support ourselves and recycle our dollar.”
As Iguodala has stayed in the bubble these months, he has not quit communicating with the outside world, maintaining his business interests, and seeking to educate about Group Economics.
Look for Iguodala and the Miami Heat to work toward upsetting the highly favored Los Angeles Lakers as the fireworks kick off tonight with Game 1 at 8:00 p.m. CST.
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