Fans at the AT&T Center in San Antonio embraced a call for unity and equality posted on the arena’s message board before Wednesday night's matchup between the Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Players from both teams stood during the national anthem, then both teams locked arms and remained standing at opposite ends of the court as the following message was displayed on the arena message board:
There are things happening in our communities that need our attention. We understand your desire to attend our games as an escape and chosen form of entertainment. In that, we feel there is a significant commonality in all of us that allows our community to be so special.
That commonality should include aspirations for social justice, freedom of speech in its many forms, and equal opportunity for education, and economic advancement regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or religion.
It is our hope that we can, as a community, inspire and evoke real change. We ask that you join with us in your daily lives in the pursuit of equality. And in that, we honor our country by exercising demands for what this great nation has promised and what our military continues to fight for.
The message drew loud applause from the crowd, according to a report from ESPN.com.
Spurs coach Greg Popovich, who has been vocal about his opposition to Donald Trump’s comments about NFL players taking a knee during the anthem, said he was proud to be a part of the San Antonio community.
"I want to congratulate our fans on the way they reacted at the beginning of the game after the national anthem was played," Popovich said during a press conference after the game. "They obviously also buy into the messages that we set up on the JumboTron. I'm so proud to be in this city when we have fans that understand that it's important for everybody. Kudos to our fans."
Spurs forward Rudy Gay also applauded the crowd’s reception of the message. "That's the meaning of unity, just being united, being one," Gay said. "We've been divided for a long time. It was all shapes, colors and sizes in that arena today. For everybody to be on the same page, it meant a lot."