When the NBA season resumes, many players will be wearing jerseys with a social justice message on the back instead of their last name. Those messages include phrases such as Black Lives Matter, Say Their Names, Freedom, Respect Us, and Justice Now.
So far, 285 of the 350 eligible NBA players have committed to putting a social justice message on their jerseys, while only 17 players have decided to keep their name on the back of their jerseys.
One of the players who opted out was Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James.
"I actually didn't go with a name on the back of my jersey," James said during a video conference call. "It was no disrespect to the list that was handed out to all the players. I commend anyone that decides 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 said that his decision does not mean he will stop speaking out and promoting social justice issues.
"I'm happy to have a platform where not only people will gain joy by the way I play the game, by the way, our team plays the game, but for also for what I'm able to do off the court, as well," James explained. "Being able to use my platform, use the NBA's platform, to continue to talk about what's going on. Because I will not stop until I see real change for us in Black America, for African Americans, for people of color. And I also believe I can do both, though."
Lebron's teammate, Anthony Davis, also decided to keep his name on the back of his jersey.
"The name 'Davis' is something that I try to represent every time I step on the floor," Davis said. "I was kind of torn between the two. I didn't know what to decide. Should I have a social justice message, or should I have my last name there?"
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