SAN ANTONIO – The NBA released its regular season schedule on Wednesday, but one date players and coaches will not be on the court is election night.
The NBA announced it would not play any regular season games on Nov. 8. It’s a rare move because all 30 teams usually do not take full days off on the same date during the regular season.
Bron Etheridge is a political organizer in Bexar County for the Texas Organizing Project. He believes it’s a bold statement by the league.
“Anytime an organization as big as the NBA makes a socially conscious decision just to make sure to encourage voting, encourage voter participation, I think is great,” said Etheridge. “I think it sends a message that election day is sacred and that it’s an important time.”
This is not the first time the NBA has made a move to encourage voter turnout. In 2020, many NBA arenas, including the AT&T Center, were used as polling locations for the first time.
“We can’t downplay their influence, and so anytime they’re showing the importance of voting and encouraging people to vote, I think it’s going to have an impact,” said Etheridge.
Etheridge said this also speaks to promoting voters’ rights and removing barriers. The league also appeals to a younger voter fan base.
“People do listen to what the NBA puts out and what the players say. Encouraging people to participate in democracy is always an advantage,” said Etheridge. “One of the things we do at TOP is make sure that we’re not only going to voters’ doors, but we’re removing those barriers and encouraging people to vote.”
In the next few months, NBA teams will get the word out about the voter registration process, state deadlines and guidelines. Before election night, every NBA team will play a game with a message to promote civic engagement and encourage fans and staff to vote.
“We’re really excited for this Nov. 8 election, and it’s going to be a sacred time,” said Etheridge. “San Antonio voters understand the importance of engaging in the electoral process. Actions like what the NBA has taken to encourage and to influence people to participate in electoral process is always great.”
MOVE Texas Action Fund Executive Director Claudia Yoli Ferla Issued the following statement:
“After partnering with the Spurs back in 2020 to register voters at their stadium, we are thrilled to see the culture of civic engagement spreading throughout the rest of the league.
“This is a simple, yet powerful way for the league to communicate to its audience — which is made up largely of young people — that civic engagement is an important responsibility we all share.
“At MOVE we often talk about how important it is to meet young people where they are, and this is a great example of that. Taking action to foster a culture of civic engagement and responsibility is incredibly important to the future of our country.
“We’re glad the NBA has taken this step, and we hope other corporations, sports leagues, and other large American institutions across the country will join them in the future.”