Lakers spread awareness on history of Juneteenth and how to celebrate new holiday

Brad Sullivan
2 Min Read

In recognition of Juneteenth, the Los Angeles Lakers are offering their fans some background on the holiday.

The connection of the holiday to the end of slavery is a chief reason why it resonates so deeply with African-Americans. Like the push to make the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. a holiday back in the 1980s, this effort was years in the making.

A major push for that movement began in the wake of racial strife that took place during the summer of 2020.

That spark began with the tragic death of George Floyd, as well as other racial incidents. In the midst of that turmoil, awareness of the importance and legacy of Juneteenth developed.

The Lakers point out that the day can be celebrated or used as a way to develop more knowledge about the concept of slavery.

Shopping at Black-owned businesses is also suggested as a way to recognize the day. However, Juneteenth-related shopping is something that’s caused some controversy for some major businesses that are accused of commercializing the holiday.

For example, Walmart was criticized for offering Juneteenth ice cream flavor of swirled red velvet and cheesecake. Also, companies like J.C. Penney and Amazon produce products such as balloons and party plates with no real connection.

During the Lakers’ storied history, they’ve been blessed to have the talents of countless African-American players playing for the franchise. From Elgin Baylor to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Magic Johnson and beyond, that bond runs deep and explains why the team is taking this step to emphasize the importance of Juneteenth.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.