Former Houston Rockets star Mario Elie weighs in on NBA boycott

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Fewer people know more about the impact the Houston Rockets have on this community than three-time NBA champion and former Rockets star Mario Elie.

He said what the team and a lot of other guys in the league did this week was huge.

"The players have the power," he said. "I see in the NBA the owners are listening. They're backing the players. I was very proud of the (Milwaukee) Bucks. It happened in their backyard. They were very distraught."

The boycotts come days after 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by a Wisconsin police officer while his children watched.

Blake is now paralyzed from the waist down.

RELATED: Basketball, baseball, soccer games postponed amid protests over Jacob Blake shooting

As much as some people may want professional athletes to just do their jobs and not discuss racial injustice, Elie said that's impossible when 80 to 85% of the NBA's players are Black.

"We're Black 24/7. Everybody loves us while we're hooping on the court, but once you leave the arena, you're still Black. That's over with. Your stardom is over with. You're a regular human being out there on the street," Elie said.

Some Houstonians are on board with the boycott.

"I actually agree with it because when you have a platform such as they do, you can actually make a stand and create change," fan Michael Chalpan said.

"I think it's a great way for them to protest," fan Brittany Arizola said.

Other people said they don't agree with the players' boycott.

"Sports should be something we all enjoy and be together on, and not let it be so political," fan Joe Mayeux said.

On Friday, NBA playoff games will resume, but players made it clear that they're sick of unarmed Black people being gunned down or brutalized by law enforcement.

SEE MORE: NBA players decide to resume playoffs, sources tell ESPN

"I'm proud of the players. They just want to be treated equally. We don't want nothing more or less. We just wanted to be treated equally and fairly. We want the same opportunity as everybody else, no matter the color of your skin," Elie said.

He also added that he's proud of his friend and former Rockets teammate Kenny "The Jet" Smith for walking off the set of "Inside The NBA" in solidarity with the players.

Elie encourages Black parents to talk to their sons and daughters about what their seeing play out on TV.

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