The last names of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and every player in the NBA can now be replaced by social justice messaging such as “Black Lives Matter” and “I Can’t Breathe” when the season resumes July 30 at ESPN’s Wide World Of Sports Complex near Orlando, according to ESPN.
After the first four nights in Orlando, if a player wants to continue to use social justice messaging, his last name will go below the number, according to the report. Otherwise, his last name would appear above the number as before.
The NBA and NBPA reportedly have agreed on 29 social justice messages that can be used on jerseys, 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 just think that (in) the NBA, we lead,” Jared Dudley said in a conference call on Friday. “[NBA commissioner] Adam Silver to me is the best at what (he does). He’s trying to make it right. He’s trying to be able to bring awareness. He wants to be front and center.
“For the players who kind of (thinking), 'I don’t know if I should go there, we don’t feel like the protests, that the league will take over the protests and what it stands for.’ He’s basically giving you guys a platform, a stage. I know they’re going to do some cool different stuff. I’ve even heard commercials and the court and what they’re going to be able to do. The names, I like it. I think it’s good to give people a different chance. I’d just like to be able to have a little more say, if it’s approved, the right message.”
The NBA is helping players fight for change in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many others.
The NBA will also have “Black Lives Matter” painted on the basketball courts, according to ESPN.