Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams admits it was a bit odd playing in an empty NBA arena but added the opening scrimmage at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando "went well." The NBA season got underway on Wednesday in Orlando, where the Clippers faced the Orlando Magic in one of four scrimmages.
The Clippers were without several players who had to leave the bubble due to personal reasons but still beat the Magic 99-90. "I heard the 'defense' chants, but once I was actually on the floor, I didn't hear it, I didn't feel it, I didn't see it.
I was locked in to the game," Williams said, as quoted on ESPN. "I don't know who that [in-game] experience is for because there are no fans in the arena, but it definitely went well." Williams, who was contemplating to skip the NBA season restart in Orlando, thought playing basketball against could switch focus from the Black Lives Matter movement.
The NBA wants to show its players they care about them so the game was played on a court that had "Black Lives Matter" written above the center court NBA logo. "I am excited to be a part of a company that is standing along a lot of players that feel strongly about their beliefs," said Williams, who was "50-50" about coming to Orlando to play until Clippers players voted to all play as a team.
"It is extremely important for Black Lives Matter to be on the floor. I'm just proud that we are part of it. "I hope people understand the message that we are trying to get across: We are fighting for equality.
We are going to continue to build, but I was extremely proud to see it."
Magic players also had a positive experience
"It was really quiet, so you've got to bring your own energy," Orlando's Aaron Gordon said.
"You can hear everything that's being said on the floor. ... It kind of has a summer league-type feel to it, and you've really got to bring your own energy." Nikola Vucevic, who has been the vocal point of Magic offense for the past few years, praised the NBA for the job they have done.
"It was a little weird, but overall, the NBA did a great job," said Vucevic, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds. "They put a bunch of screens in the arena, making the arena dark around us so it doesn't feel empty, so there's something going on. It was pretty good for a first game but not too bad overall."