Although the NBA has focused on establishing viable safety protocols for the 2019-20 season restart, they also acknowledged concerns players had with being able to continue utilizing their platforms to fight racial injustice when play resumes at Walt Disney World.
The league plans to paint the sidelines of the three arenas being used for play to honor the Black Lives Matter protests. They also worked with the Players Association on a list of personalized messages to replace the last name on their jerseys with.
Danny Green is among the Los Angeles Lakers who have been active in addressing social unease after taking part in the peaceful protests in downtown L.A. He also opted to go with the statement “How Many More?” on the back of his jersey once the seeding games begin at the end of the month.
“All those messages mean a lot to me and they all speak out about what’s going on in the world. Basketball and sports in our everyday lives is important, but the bigger picture for us is getting the justices that are deserved for those in our community and around the world,” Green said of his message.
“‘How Many More,’ our fans picked it but it was one of the ones I chose because it speaks out. How many more people of color are going to get killed or die at the hands of police brutality? How many more families are going to get denied housing? How many more Black men and women are going to get denied certain job opportunities? The list goes on.
“‘How Many More’ stands for more than one thing and it keeps the world on notice that we’re not in any way, shape or form distracted on the bigger picture. Obviously we want to play and win, but at the same time we want to try and continue to push for our people.”
Other social justice messages approved by the NBA include “Freedom,” “Respect Us,” and “I Am A Man,” among others.
LeBron James not wearing a message
A number of Green’s high-profile teammates such as LeBron James and Anthony Davis were hoping to be more involved with the selection process.
Although both decided to leave their names as is, James is still confident in his ability to raise awareness to the real issues at hand during their stay.
“I would’ve loved to have a say so of what would have went on the back of my jersey. I had a couple things in mind but I wasn’t part of that process, which is OK,” he said.
“I’m absolutely OK with that. What I will continue to do off the floor and when I’m talking to you guys and everything that I do has a purpose and meaning. I don’t need to have something on the back of my jersey for people to understand my mission or know what I’m about and here to do.
“But I commend everybody and respect everybody that decided to put something on the back of their jersey. I think that’s great. I also respect anyone that didn’t.”
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