After NBA players protested Wednesday's games in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a small group of players turned to former President Barack Obama for advice.
Obama's office confirmed Friday night that the 44th president was "happy to provide advice on Wednesday night to a small group of NBA players seeking to leverage their immense platforms for good after their brave and inspiring strike in the wake of Jacob Blake's shooting."
The Athletic's Shams Charania reported earlier in the day that LeBron James had reached out to Obama after walking out of a players meeting in support of sitting out NBA's remaining games. Oklahoma City's Chris Paul was also reportedly on the call. Sources told The Athletic that the former president advised the players to keep playing and to use the opportunity to contextualize action they want.
In a statement, Obama's office said that "As an avid basketball fan, President Obama speaks regularly with players and league officials." During the call, the players and Obama "discussed establishing a social justice committee" to make sure this week's actions "led to sustained, meaningful engagement on criminal justice and police reform," the statement said.
The Athletic reported the players on the call said they wanted Obama involved in the committee.
In a tweet, Obama commended the players for standing up for what they believe in.
"It's going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values," Obama tweeted.
When asked Thursday about the protest by the NBA players, President Donald Trump said “they’ve become like a political organization, and that’s not a good thing.”
“NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially,’ White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told CNBC on Thursday.
In a separate appearance before an event hosted by Politico, Kushner said that he planned to reach out to Los Angles Lakers star LeBron James, an outspoken advocate for policing changes.
“Look, I do think that peaceful protest has a place and it has importance,” Kushner said. “But I do think that what we need to do right now is make sure that we take the anger that people have and we have to move from slogans to constructive solutions.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.