LeBron James has become particularly politically outspoken in the past three years. He's publicly feuded with President Donald Trump, sported an "I Can't Breathe" t-shirt, and delivered a passionate monologue (along with his peers) before the 2016 ESPYs. Younger hoopers have taken notice.
"There have been times where I wanted to say something about certain things, but I was hesitant to speak out because I didn't want anything to happen," Bagley said. "But seeing a guy like LeBron speak up and use the platform he has, it's definitely something I want to do. I don't want to be afraid to say what I have to say."
There's no question athletes, particularly in the NBA, are feeling empowered to speak up—and no question James has helped lead that charge.
"It will only be a matter of time until I try to use my voice, my platform," Orlando rookie Mo Bamba told SI.
The league has encouraged its players to take advantage of the audience at their disposal to ignite social change.
"There is this tremendous platform and huge responsibility our players have," said NBA Senior VP of Player Development Greg Taylor. "We try to educate our guys on strategies to become leaders, how to become knowledgeable, how to contact leaders that are already active in those spaces. The Rookie Transition Program plays a vital role in starting that conversation with our guys."