The NBA will paint "Black Lives Matter" on the sidelines at all three arenas in use for the resumption of the 2019-20 season, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe and Ramona Shelburne.
The WNBA is discussing a similar plan when it holds its 2020 season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., per Lowe and Shelburne.
Players across the NBA and WNBA have been outspoken in the fight against police brutality and racial injustice during the leagues' respective COVID-19 suspensions. WNBA players Renee Montgomery of the Atlanta Dream and Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics recently announced their plans to skip the 2020 season to focus on social justice initiatives.
The NBA announced on Sunday it will allow players to replace the last name on the back of their jersey's with statements supporting social justice. The NBA and NBPA are "discussing several methods of using the NBA's platform in Orlando to call attention to racial equality, social justice and police brutality," per Lowe and Shelburne.
Several players–including Rockets guard Russell Westbrook–have participated in social justice events and protests throughout June following the death of George Floyd, who was killed in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. Floyd was stopped by officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd can be heard on video saying, "I can't breathe," numerous times before his death.
Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting murder for their roles in Floyd's death.
The NBA is slated to resume the 2019-20 season on July 30 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Houston enters the season's resumption No. 6 in the Western Conference at 40–24.