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Sports Pulse: Jeff Zillgitt on who he thinks will make it to the NBA Finals this season USA TODAY

The defining image of the NBA’s relaunch Thursday night came prior to tip-off when players and coaches from the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans locked arms and knelt in unison during the playing of the national anthem. 

It was the first time since Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest during an NFL preseason game in 2016 that NBA players knelt, as NBA rules have required players standing in a line during the national anthem since 1981. 

But this time, the gesture wasn’t shocking, nor did it seem particularly like an act of protest. Outside

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