Nurse: Raptors will treat U.S., Canadian anthems as 'one long song'
Ron Turenne / National Basketball Association / Getty

Nick Nurse indicated Friday that the Toronto Raptors' plans for the playing of the U.S. national anthem prior to their game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday will extend to the Canadian national anthem.

"First of all, we certainly have our issues with police brutality in Canada," Toronto's head coach told reporters. "We don't want anyone to confuse that. That is certainly an area Canada needs to work on as well."

The 53-year-old American added: "This isn't about countries, this isn't about the borders. To me, it's about continuing to shine the light on 'we need to do better in the police brutality area; we need to do better in the systemic racism area.'

"That's not just Canada (and) America, that's a lot of places. So we treat (the anthems) as one long song tomorrow."

Players and coaches from the four teams that kicked off the long-awaited return of meaningful NBA action on Thursday - the Utah Jazz, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Clippers, and Lakers - kneeled during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" before their respective games.

"I thought it was very impactful, I thought it was very well done," Nurse said of Thursday's gestures. "As I watched it, you could feel it stirring some emotions in your heart and in your mind. That to me means it was impactful, right? I'm sure a lot of people felt as I did."

The Raptors - the only NBA team currently based outside the U.S. - have been heavily involved in calling for social justice reform in recent months. The organization directly aligned itself with the Black Lives Matter movement by featuring the phrase on the side of its team buses when its travel party arrived in Florida ahead of the season restart.

In an interview on July 23, Golden State Warriors big man Draymond Green asked Raptors president Masai Ujiri, who is Nigerian, why a Canadian-based team would involve itself in what Green perceived to be a U.S.-centric social discourse.

Ujiri responded that the Raptors represent the entire NBA and that social justice was "on the minds of all the players and all the teams."

Twelve of the 17 players currently on the Raptors' roster are American, including U.K.-born OG Anunoby. Saint Lucia-born Chris Boucher and two-way player Oshae Brissett are Canadian, while international players Pascal Siakam (Cameroon), Serge Ibaka (Republic of the Congo), and Marc Gasol (Spain) round out the roster.

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Nurse: Raptors will treat U.S., Canadian anthems as 'one long song'
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