The NBA won’t play any games on Election Day this year in an effort to encourage its players, staff and fans to vote in the midterm elections on Nov. 8, 2022, as well as promote “nonpartisan civic engagement.” Teams will instead play games the Monday before during what the league called a “Civic Engagement Night.”
It’s an unprecedented move for the league, which has played at least two games on Election Days in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the 2020 season until after Election Day in 2020.
“We don’t usually change the schedule for an external event,” James A. Cadogan, the executive director for the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition told NBC News’ Shaquille Brewster on Tuesday. “But voting and Election Day are obviously unique and incredibly important to our democracy and that’s part of the value proposition that we want to make sure people understand that voting is unlike anything else.”
NBA’s other pro-voting movements
This isn’t the league’s first initiative to promote voting.
Several teams turned their arenas into polling locations during the 2020 presidential election after the league met with players during the playoffs following a three-day hiatus amid a player walkout. The league announced that “[e]very arena that is owned and operated by the team will work with local election officials to convert the facility into a polling place for the upcoming 2020 election.”
This movement also led to the establishment of the Social Justice Coalition, which Cadogan leads.
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Other scheduling updates
The full 2022-23 NBA schedule won’t be released until Wednesday afternoon, but a few marquee matchups have already been announced or leaked.
NBA opening night on Oct. 18 will reportedly feature games between the Philadephia 76ers and the Boston Celtics as well as the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors. The Christmas Day schedule will also reportedly include matches between the 76ers and New York Knicks, Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies, Lakers as well as the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns.
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