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Lloyd Pierce takes on important leadership role for Hawks, NBCA

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Atlanta Hawks v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Darren Carroll/NBAE via Getty Images

Following the death of George Floyd caused by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin holding his knee on Floyd’s neck, protests emerged across the United States this weekend, including within the city of Atlanta. Members of Atlanta Hawks leadership spoke on the issue in recent days, with head coach Lloyd Pierce embracing a significant role, both within the organization and across the basketball landscape.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Pierce — along with Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, David Fizdale, Doc Rivers, JB Bickerstaff, Quin Snyder. and Stan Van Gundy — was selected to a “Committee on Racial Injustice and Reform” established by the NBCA. From there, Wojnarowski indicates that Pierce “played a leadership role in the NBCA’s weekend dialogue and has shown a determination to encourage the entire roster of coaches — not just those traditionally speaking on issues of race and equality — to be part of a movement of voice and action within the profession’s ranks.”

In addition to his expanding role in the NBCA, Pierce has been publicly vocal, including a statement on Instagram, which he shared with the AJC was not about him, but rather “it was about any person that’s black, any man that’s black.”

From there, a memo from within the Hawks organization emerged, with Pierce joined by owner Tony Ressler, CEO Steve Koonin, President of Basketball Operations Travis Schlenk and Executive Vice President and Chief People, Diversity and Inclusion Officer Camye Mackey.

“My voice as an African American voice, probably the biggest African American voice in our organization as a head coach, if I have the fear, who else has it?” Pierce told Sarah Spencer of the AJC. “And there are a lot of people who have it, which we understand, so it has to happen. And it has to happen for a lot of reasons.”

From a broader NBA perspective, NBA commissioner Adam Silver sent the following memo to NBA teams.

Koonin also weighed in from his personal Twitter account with a candid message.

While a great deal of attention is currently paid to on-court and business concerns surrounding the NBA’s potential restart plans, there are simply bigger issues than basketball. Through that lens, Pierce — along with Koonin and many others including Jaylen Brown, Malcolm Brogdon and former Hawk Justin Anderson — is a fantastic example of leadership in this tremendously important moment.