Magic's Isaac takes lone stand at NBA restart


Orlando (AFP)

Orlando Magic player Jonathan Isaac stood for the US national anthem ahead of his team's clash with the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, declining to join teammates and coaches who knelt for the pre-game ritual.

In Thursday's opening games at the NBA restart in Orlando, all players and coaches, many wearing "Black Lives Matter" T-shirts, dropped to one knee in a silent demonstration during the anthem.

Magic and Nets players followed suit on Friday as the "Star-Spangled Banner" was played, but Isaac did not take part.

Instead, Isaac, who also did not join his teammates in wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, stood alone wearing his Magic jersey.

It was not immediately clear why Isaac, who became an ordained minister earlier this year during his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury, declined to kneel.

The NBA restarted its season on Thursday after a four-month hiatus following the coronavirus pandemic.

The relaunch is also getting under way after nationwide soul-searching about racism and police brutality in the United States following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd during his arrest by police on May 25 in Minneapolis.

Many NBA players joined protests against the killing that swept across all 50 states in June, and the cause of social justice has loomed large at the league's restart.

Large "Black Lives Matter" slogans have been written on each NBA court, while players are allowed to wear jerseys adorned with messages ranging from "I Can't Breathe" to "Justice Now" and "Education Reform."