The Dallas Mavericks “do not plan” to play the US national anthem again before their home games this season.
Dallas have not played the anthem at 13 pre-season and regular-season games, at the direction of team owner Mark Cuban.
Cuban has supported the players’ right to kneel during the anthem to protest against racial injustice.
“Under the unique circumstances of this season, teams are permitted to run pre-game operations as they see fit,” an NBA spokesperson told The Athletic.
The Mavericks did not publicise the anthem’s removal or announce the decision to team staff. They welcomed a limited number of fans back to the American Airlines Center for the first time this season for Monday’s win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Since the NBA resumed last year, a league rule that require players to stand during the anthem has not been enforced.
“I recognise that this is a very emotional issue on both sides of the equation in America right now, and I think it calls for real engagement rather than rule enforcement,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in December.
After Dallas players and coaches knelt during the anthem last year, Cuban said he would join them. In July he tweeted: “The National Anthem Police in this country are out of control. If you want to complain, complain to your boss and ask why they don’t play the national anthem every day before you start work.”
Jazz equal their best ever start
Tuesday’s NBA action saw the Utah Jazz beat the Boston Celtics 122-108 on Tuesday to equal their best ever start to a season. Donovan Mitchell finished with 36 points and nine assists in Utah’s fifth straight win – and 16th in 17 games.
They have the best record in the NBA of 20-5, which they also had in 1996-97, when Karl Malone led the franchise to the NBA Finals for the first time.
The Philadelphia 76ers are 18-7 after beating the Sacramento Kings 119-111 while the Golden State Warriors improved to 13-12 as Stephen Curry scored 32 points in a 114-91 win at the San Antonio Spurs.
Coach Steve Nash said the Brooklyn Nets must “decide what type of team they want to be” after slipping to 14-12 with a third straight defeat.
Jerami Grant tied his career high with 32 points as the Detroit Pistons snapped a four-game losing streak with a 122-111 win over the Nets, who were missing forward Kevin Durant for a second straight game due to coronavirus protocols.
“It takes us going down 20 [points] to find that fire,” said Nash, the former two-time MVP.
“I think our team need to challenge themselves, figure out who they want to be and what they want to represent together.”
Elsewhere, Carmelo Anthony moved into 12th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (26,722 points) as the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Orlando Magic 106-97.
The New Orleans Pelicans routed the Houston Rockets 130-101 and Jimmy Butler finished with 26 points as the Miami Heat came back for a 98-96 win over the New York Knicks.