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Beyond the Court: The Social Impact of Basketball and Athlete Activism


The NBA is a professional basketball league that has always pushed the boundaries of American sports. In recent years, it has shown a particular boost on this issue. It has facilitated active discussions about racism and supported individuals in their fight for justice. In this article, we will discuss basketball’s impact on society and the activism of individual players who have made a difference in a particular situation.

Personal Example: Players And Management Of The NBA

The NBA is leading the way among other sports organizations in the fight for racial equality. The fact is that about 74% of players are of dark skin. This figure is many times higher than, for example, in soccer (only 9%). Furthermore, the number of dark-skinned coaches is impressive – about 25%, and general managers – 32%. Due to this, the number of dark-skinned people in professional sports is actively promoted.

It is worth noting that the NBA (details of which can be found at not only has a significant representation of dark-skinned athletes and coaches. The huge fan base also impacts society, as many are people of various skin colors. This makes basketball the sport that can spread its message of racial justice most openly and diversely possible.

Activism Of Athletes: How Basketball Players Utilize Their Popularity

The NBA is a unique structure where the focus is more on individual players than teams. This is why many athletes use their popularity to take a proactive approach to life and share it with others, significantly impacting them. The table below provides some examples of how famous basketball personalities have used their power as celebrities.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


This one of the most popular players in basketball history who is also an activist and social advocate. He has repeatedly spoken out against violence, racism, and social injustice. Mr. Abdul-Jabbar has not only brought sensitive and uncomfortable issues to public discussion but has also financially supported many organizations that fight for equality among people.

LeBron James

This is a modern basketball icon who has actively mobilized his popularity for social activism. He particularly cares about issues related to education and equality. That is why LeBron created his own foundation, which finances programs to support youth. Many teenagers were able to get a high-quality education owing to the activities of this basketball player. In 2018, he was awarded for his efforts on social justice issues.

These are just some of the representatives of basketball who are active in trying to make a difference in their communities. Many other athletes can be mentioned, such as:

  • Stephen Jackson;
  • Dwight Howarth;
  • Jaylen Brown;
  • Colin Kaepernick;
  • Stephen Curry.

All of them, including LeBron James, actively supported the Black Lives Matter movement after the events surrounding the murder of George Floyd and other instances of racially motivated violence. Afterward, many NBA players were honored by the ESPYs’ Arthur Ashe Award for Courage in recognition of their overall activism.

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Impact On Society

NBA activism has made quite an impact on society. As a result, many people began to pay attention to social justice issues. Their campaigns have caused a change in the way professional sports are perceived. Previously, it was viewed as a platform to showcase one’s skills. Still, it has become a means of expressing one’s opinions on social issues after the protests of NBA players, other soccer, and even racing athletes actively advocating for their vital positions.

Indeed, the actions of individual players, as well as campaigns of the entire league, contributed to the general awareness of citizens about issues such as racism and social justice. This was the starting point for many other well-known personalities beyond the world of sports to become more active.

Basketball match

It can be said that athletes’ activism has served as the trigger for a chain reaction that results in change in society. When politicians and legislators see public support for activists, they tend to address and approve various pieces of relevant laws and regulations. This also applies to other fields, from serving people in cafes to more global ones, for instance, participation of dark-skinned people in various competitions or events.


To summarize, the social impact of basketball has been quite significant. The NBA has made a huge contribution to the views of many people around the world in terms of everything from police violence to overhauling criminal justice to combating racial inequality. Furthermore, the league has helped promote Black Lives Matter, a popular movement, to bring attention to the mistreatment of black people by the judicial system. Some athletes, such as LeBron James (you can read more about him at, have created special foundations with the main aim of supporting those in need. This is why we can say that basketball is a sport that has demonstrated the possibility of being active, demonstrating personal achievements, and promoting important messages of life to the public.