Which Philadelphia 76ers Will Wear a Social Justice Statement?
The NBA's idea to allow players to replace their last name on the back of their game-worn jersey's with a social justice-related statement was received with mixed reviews. Considering players didn't have much input on the available messages, the idea left quite a few players frustrated.
Philadelphia 76ers veteran forward Mike Scott was very outspoken with his frustration regarding the NBA's list of messages a few weeks ago. "They gave us some names and phrases to put on the back of jerseys," Scott told the media. "That was terrible. It was a bad list, bad choice, they didn't give players a chance to voice their opinion. They just gave us a list to pick from."
A handful of Sixers agreed with Scott's sentiment -- but not everybody was going to allow the disappointment of the plans to stop them from spreading a message. So out of 15 Sixers players who are present down in Orlando, Florida, for the NBA's restart, six of them will wear a statement on their jersey beginning on Saturday.
Who's Wearing What?
Alec Burks | Enough
Furkan Korkmaz | Equality
Raul Neto | Equality
Kyle O'Quinn | Hear Us
Josh Richardson | Say Their Names
Matisse Thybulle | Vote
On Thursday before the Sixers hit the gym for practice, veteran guard Josh Richardson and rookie guard Matisse Thybulle explained their decision to wear a social justice statement -- and explained why they chose the specific message.
"I chose 'say their names' just because there are so many instances things that have happened, and I'm just trying to be a vessel for this movement that's finally happening," Richardson explained. "You can go down the list, Breonna Taylor is at the forefront, George Floyd, Michael Brown, on a smaller scale, where I'm from Isaiah Lewis was killed by police unarmed and there are just too many instances of it happening so I'm just trying to raise awareness, keep being a vessel for what's happening, and hopefully people will keep picking up on the message."
Thybulle, on the other hand, will encourage his fan base to simply vote in this year's upcoming election. "The NBA is a massive platform," Thybulle stated. "Kids look up to us, people listen to us -- so [to] take this opportunity, the platform we have, to spread a message we think is worth sharing and fighting for is really important. [Voting is] something I'm passionate about, and my family is passionate about it, and I think a lot of other players are as well."
The select Sixers mentioned above will debut their modified uniforms on Saturday, August 1, when the team takes on the Indiana Pacers for the season's restart.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_