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Nets interim coach Jacque Vaughn inspires players using speech of John Lewis

Nets interim coach Jacque Vaughn gestures during a

Nets interim coach Jacque Vaughn gestures during a game against the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

While the Nets, adding pieces almost daily to the roster, have a need for plenty of game film, their coach Jacque Vaughn opted to show them another piece of video before Saturday’s practice session — cueing up John Lewis’ speech from the 1963 march on Washington. Lewis, one of the 13 original freedom riders and a 17-term congressman, passed away Friday. So Vaughn began by asking his players their age and as they answered, one 22 years old, another 24, he pointed out that at their age Lewis was already making history.

“We lost an icon,” Vaughn said. “I’m speaking for the organization, extremely pleased we were able to just enlighten and educate our guys on a human being who dedicated a majority of his life for others and for the social well-being of all humans.

"For our group to take a look and realize that at 23 years old he was in front of hundreds of thousands of people delivering a speech and walking on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, walking next to Dr. King many times. And [he delivered that speech] at the age of 23 when we have guys who are 22 and 24 years old on the roster who get the opportunity and luxury of playing basketball for a living. It’s an ideal time for us to lean into gratitude and lean into joy in our life and commemorate a guy who stood for a lot for a lot of human beings.”

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