The National Basketball Association said Tuesday it would not schedule games on Election Day, Nov. 8, to encourage fans, players and officials to vote.
All 30 teams are playing the night before the election as part of what the league calls “Citizenship Night”.
The plan was first reported by NBC News.
The league typically treats Election Day like any other on the schedule. There were four games on Election Day 2018 and six on that day in 2016. The 2020 season had not started by Election Day this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The scheduling decision grew out of the NBA family’s focus on promoting bipartisan civic engagement and encouraging fans to make a plan to vote during the midterm elections,” the league said in a statement.
NBA and WNBA players have been prominent advocates for social justice, including Black Lives Matter and electoral defense, among American professional athletes in recent years. They often had the passive or even active support of the league, far more than their peers in the NFL or Major League Baseball.
More than a dozen NBA arenas were used as polling sites for the 2020 election.
“We don’t typically change the schedule for an outside event,” said James Cadogan, executive director of the NBA Social Justice Coalition. said on MSNBC on Tuesday. “But the vote and Election Day are obviously unique and incredibly important to our democracy.”
The full NBA schedule is scheduled to be released Wednesday afternoon.