LeBron James Won't Wear A Message On His Jersey, Says They Didn't Resonate With Him
LeBron James will not have a social justice message on the back of his jersey for the resumed NBA season in Florida.
"I actually didn’t go with a name on the back of my jersey," James said in a conference call Saturday ahead of the Lakers' first practice since the season was suspended March 11. "It was no disrespect to the list that was handed out to all the players. I commend everyone that decided to put something on the back of their jersey. It’s just something that didn't really seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal."
James added that he wishes he could've chosen a statement to wear instead of being restricted to the 29 messages that that the NBA and NBPA recently approved, including: 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.
"I would have loved to have the say-so on what would have went on the back of my jersey," James said. "I had a couple things in mind. But I wasn’t part of that process, which is okay. I’m absolutely okay with that."
James has long used his enormous platform that includes over 114 million combined followers on Twitter and Instagram to speak out against racial injustices.
In 2012, he helped spearhead his then-Miami Heat to wear hoodies in honor of Trayvon Martin, who was killed by George Zimmerman. During warmups before a game with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, he wore a T-shirt that said "I Can't Breathe," which were Eric Garner's final words before he died after being placed in a chokehold by a police officer in New York. James has also spoken out against the deaths of Michael Brown, Aavielle Wakefield, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, among others.
He's also taken concrete action to create real change.
He founded the I Promise School in 2018 in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, to help at-risk youth. Last month, he founded a nonprofit group named More Than A Vote to fight Black voter suppression and excite minority voters across the nation. And he recently raised over $100 million to create a new media company, SpringHill Co., to give a voice to Black creators and consumers.
James said he will continue to pour himself into fighting against racism.
He just plans on doing it on his own terms.
"Everything that I do has a purpose, has a meaning," he said. "I don’t need to have something on the back of my jersey for people to understand my mission or know what I’m about and what I’m here to do. But I commend everybody and I respect everybody that decided to put something on the back of their jersey. I think that’s great."