The NBA and its players want to make sure people are reminded of the continuing fight for social justice reform.
Yesterday (Jun.28), Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported the NBA and National Basketball Players Association is planning to give players the option to replace their names with social justice messaging on the back of their jerseys when the league restarts in July.
According to Shams, the National Basketball Players Association has already sent out details about the plan Saturday evening. It is currently in contact with league and Nike who handles the league’s jerseys. The decision to allow players to have statements about social justice on the back of their jerseys could satisfy those who felt like the NBA coming back would be a distraction to the civil unrest and protests against police brutality across the nation.
Back in June, Brookly Nets guard, Kyrie Irving led a group of players who were considering opting-out of “bubble city” because of that reasoning and reportedly even floated the idea of players starting their own league. Los Angeles Lakers big man Dwight Howard sided with Irving in a statement issued to CNN. Howard would subsequently release another to Stadium clarifying his position, stating he didn’t say the NBA should cancel the season, but instead, players want to “raise awareness and gain transparency.” The Lakers are pretty confident Howard will be suiting up when play resumes.
Lou Williams, who was also on the fence about the NBA restart, suggested the idea of the players rocking “Black Lives Matter” patches on their jerseys as another option as well.
The NBA has said it is taking the necessary steps to increase diversity throughout the league and will find ways to better connect with the Black community through a foundation it plans to establish. The NBA has been very supportive of its players when it comes to letting them use their platforms to make statements on social matters. Following the death of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD in 2014, LeBron James and other players rocked t-shirts with Garner’s final words “I Can’t Breathe” written on them. The term is now the rallying cry of continued protests against systemic racism and eerily the last words of George Floyd, who also died while in police custody.
The Los Angeles Clippers followed that up by taking off their team warmups at center court and throwing them on the floor in protest against former owner Donald Sterling’s racist comments.
Players in the WNBA are also trying to push for something similar. Led by Las Vegas Aces star Angel McCoughtry, there is a petition being driven by stars to allow players to put the names of victims of police brutality on jerseys.
The Premier League has already have shown support for Black Lives Matter with new jerseys as well.
We expect all of the leagues to eventually follow suit in some shape or form.
Photo: Al Bello / Getty