Tuesday morning, the NBA announced no regular season games will be scheduled on Election Day this season. Instead, Nov. 8 will be used as a day for the league to help generate increased voter turnout.
NBC News correspondent Shaquille Brewster exclusively reported the NBA’s groundbreaking decision during MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Shortly after, the league issued a press release, stating the decision “came out of the NBA family’s focus on promoting nonpartisan civic engagement and encouraging fans to make a plan to vote during midterm elections.”
“The NBA says that they’re trying to build on what we saw in 2020 when they turned nearly two dozen team facilities and arenas like the one behind me into voting locations,” Brewster said on MSNBC while standing in front of the Brooklyn Nets’ Barclays Center.
The NBA has urged activism in recent years while emphasizing the importance of voting in local and national elections. Social initiatives by the NBA were heightened following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, with the league and its players teaming up to eliminate racial inequality and police brutality. As Brewster noted, teams offered their arenas as polling locations during the 2020 presidential election. LeBron James also helped to launch the More Than a Vote campaign, an initiative aimed to increase voter turnout and expose misinformation.
Despite the league’s push for more voters, ESPN’s Marc Spears previously reported only about 20% of eligible NBA players voted during the 2019 election. Hopefully, having no scheduled Election Day games will make it easier for NBA players to support their own initiatives by showing up to the polls.
The NBA will release its full schedule for the 2022-23 season on Wednesday, Aug. 17 at 3 p.m. EST. Over the next few months, NBA teams will also distribute information on their respective state’s voting processes and registration deadlines.