NEW YORK -- Adam Silver expects NBA players to continue standing for the national anthem.
Not only because it's a league rule, but because they are aware of what it means in what the commissioner believes is a divided America.
"Many of our players have spoken out already about their plan to stand for the anthem," Silver said Thursday. "And I think they understand how divisive an issue it is in our society right now."
Silver said the playing of the national anthem has always been a time for respect and reflection - even in a league where 25 percent of the players are not American - and recalled that many teams locked arms last season.
He wants them to continue showing unity during the anthem - but to do it while standing.
"It's been a rule as long as I've been involved with the league, and my expectation is that our players will continue to stand for the anthem," he said.
Silver didn't say what would happen if any players refuse to stand, adding: "If that were to happen, we'll deal with it when it happens."
The board also talked about current events, meeting less than a week after President Donald Trump opted against inviting the Warriors to the White House after All-Star Stephen Curry said he didn't want to go.
Trump had criticized NFL players for their anthem protests in a speech the night before, and hundreds responded in games Sunday and Monday by kneeling during the anthem.
Silver thinks NBA players have other opportunities, either by continuing their community service efforts or through the media, to make their voices heard.
"I'm hoping once again that this league can play a constructive role there," Silver said.