Lakers' Kyle Kuzma Wishes NBA Players Could've Chosen More Personalized Jersey Messages

Melissa Rohlin

Kyle Kuzma wishes NBA players could've chosen personalized messages on the back of their jerseys instead of being restricted to the 29 phrases that the NBA and NBPA recently approved. 

"I would wish it would have not been so limited to what we could put on the back of those jerseys," Kuzma said. "I feel like it could be more personal instead of less generic. I think it's a step in the right direction."

Players can have a message replace their last name on the back of their jersey for the first four nights of the resumed season near Orlando, which begins July 30 at ESPN’s Wide World Of Sports Complex. After that, if a player wants to continue using the message, his name will go below the number. 

They can choose from the following messages, as Marc Spears of ESPN first reported: 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.

Kuzma says he's glad that the NBA is helping players fight for social justice, including also painting "Black Lives Matter" on the courts in the bubble. 

It's a cause that he's devoted himself to ever since George Floyd was murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25. 

He wrote an op-ed for the Players' Tribune in which he talked about his own experiences with racism and encouraged people to keep fighting for change.

And he started selling a T-shirt from his Childhood Dreams clothing collection with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the NAACP legal defense fund. 

The T-shirt has the primary election voting dates for various states written on the front as well as the following slogan: "Use your voice. Silence is violence." Kuzma said he raised "surprisingly, a lot of money" from that endeavor.

"We just wanted to do something that really was an impact," Kuzma said. "Wasn’t something that was just me just donating money to a cause. But having multiple people join and interact. Be a part of something."

Kuzma hopes to start seeing some real change. 

He wants African American history to be taught more in schools and hopes one day Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth and Madame CJ Walker will become household names.

Kuzma added that he's going to do whatever he can to raise awareness for racial injustices. 

"I feel like it’s my debt to society to speak up and use my platform, speak for people who don’t have a voice and kind of use my voice to get their point across," he said. 

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