The NBA might allow players to replace their names with personalized statements on the back of their jerseys when the season resumes, writes Marc J. Spears of ESPN. The statements can involve social justice, social causes or charities.
“We’re just trying to continue to shed light on the different social justice issues that guys around our league continue to talk about day in and day out,” said Thunder guard Chris Paul, who serves as president of the National Basketball Players Association. “People are saying that social justice will be off of everybody’s mind in Orlando. With these jerseys, it doesn’t go away.”
Jerseys can feature messages such as “Black Lives Matter” or “I Can’t Breathe” or possibly the names of people who were killed by police, such as George Floyd or Breonna Taylor, Spears adds. The NBA and its players union announced this week that the fight against systemic racism will be part of the focus of the restart. Numerous players had expressed concern that resuming the season would take away from their social justice crusade.
Paul, who hasn’t decided what his message will be, said many players have expressed support for the idea, including some who aren’t Black. Suggestions will be provided for players who want to participate and are looking for a cause.
“The guys I talked to were definitely excited,” he said. “The reason I’m passionate and excited about it is that it gives a voice to the voiceless. It also gives guys a chance to shine a light on something they are passionate about. Otherwise, they may not have been given a chance to express themselves.”