Oct 03, 2016

    NBA's Raptors join racial-inequality protest

    MEMBERS of the Toronto Raptors locked arms in solidarity during the playing of the Canadian and United States national anthems on Saturday, as protests to draw attention to racial inequality spread to the National Basketball Association and into Canada.

    The Raptors lined up on the court with their arms locked together as the NBA pre-season opened in Vancouver with Toronto hosting Golden State Warriors.

    The only other game on the NBA schedule on Saturday had the Dallas Mavericks visiting the New Orleans Pelicans.

    As the NBA's only Canada-based franchise, the Raptors' protest was the first at a sporting event where both the American and Canadian anthems are played before the start of a game.

    Protesting players have been seen as allies of the Black Lives Matter movement, which grew in response to high-profile police killings of unarmed African-Americans across the US in the last two years.

    Raptors coach Dwane Casey said he told his players that if they protested, they had to "do it from the heart, don't do it just for the sake of doing something or saying something".

    LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the NBA finals' reigning most valuable player, said on Monday that he supported athletes who had chosen to protest but had no plans to follow in their footsteps.

    The Cavaliers open their pre-season on Wednesday when they host Orlando.