BOSTON (CBS) — Before the Celtics and Bucks could tip off in Orlando, the two teams came together to send a message of unity. Both teams locked arms and took a knee during the national anthem.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens and Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer locked arms with their players by their side. All players wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts. It was the same scene that played out ahead of Thursday night’s Pelicans-Jazz and Lakers-Clippers games in Orlando, as the NBA sends a unified message — one demanding social change and racial equality.

Stevens said ahead of Friday’s game that he expected everyone to take a knee during the anthem.

“I think that the reality is that we want to take a knee because we care,” Stevens said. “We want to take a knee because we’re pushing for a higher ideal of equality, more justice. And we want to make sure we do our part in that.

“I think it’s really important, and I heard LeBron (James) say this last night: this isn’t about the flag,” added Stevens. “This isn’t about the troops. In fact, we’re so thankful that our military has allowed us the freedom to do this… to show that we care, to show that we are pushing for a more equal, more just United States. And I think we owe that to all of those people that have sacrificed over time to do our part to make sure that we’re all living up to those ideals that we espoused.”

Two of the three officials also took a knee during the anthem. Referee Brent Barnaky chose to stand and cover his heart.


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