As the NBA finalized plans to continue and finish their 2019-2020 season in Orlando, a proposal came forward to allow players to put social justice messages on their jerseys in lieu of their last names.
So far, 285 of 350 players have committed to doing so. Former Kentucky Wildcats star Anthony Davis is among 17 players that have committed to using their last names.
“The name Davis is something I try to represent every time I’m on the floor,” Davis said. “I was torn between change it or not, but I decided to keep it. There are many other ways we can send our message.”
This comes after Los Angeles Lakers teammate LeBron James also said he won’t wear a message on his jersey.
According to ESPN, the following words or phrases are available for players to use: Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; I Can’t Breathe; Justice; Peace; Equality; Freedom; Enough; Power to the People; Justice Now; Say Her Name; Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can); Liberation; See Us; Hear Us; Respect Us; Love Us; Listen; Listen to Us; Stand Up; Ally; Anti-Racist; I Am A Man; Speak Up; How Many More; Group Economics; Education Reform; and Mentor.
The NBA has been known for year as the league that encourages players to speak out on issues of social justice, so it is no surprise that this has become an option given the racial unrest in our country right now. It will be interesting to see which players have chosen to use this opportunity to send a message, which may not, and whether or not the division of the players on doing so will become an issue.
The NBA is slated to return on July 30th in Orlando, Florida. The state of Florida is currently being hit hard by the pandemic, and time will tell if the rise in cases will impact the NBA “bubble” at Disney.