Although the 2019-20 NBA season is slated to restart at the end of the month, the excitement was overshadowed by the Black Lives Matter movement that picked up steam after the unjust death of George Floyd.
Numerous players voiced their concern to the NBA that stepping back on the court would take away from the movement. The league has been in constant contact with them on how they can work together to continue to raise awareness and highlight the issues facing the Black community.
One of the actions taken was to allow players participating in Orlando to wear approved messages on the back of their jerseys during games. Danny Green believes this is a positive step in ensuring those goals are met.
“All I can do is hope for it to continue, or even be better and stronger and take off. Because if we use our platform the right way, we can have more attention and progress toward that aspect of what’s going on in the world,” he said.
“I think the players and Players Association did a good job of helping communicate what guys want on their jerseys and what main statements needed to be said, heard, or revisited and emphasized, so that the world is not just distracted by basketball and forget about what’s really going on.
“Obviously I don’t think it’s going to stay on jerseys the whole time, but if we continue to use our platform and voices to emphasize what’s really important to us, I think it can be very useful.”
Green is among the players who will take advantage of the opportunity, and he believes the NBA was successful in their goal. “They came up with good ideas and have a good amount of options,” he said. “Some really important ones stood out. That’s the biggest thing.”
Kyle Kuzma on social issues and jersey messages
Kyle Kuzma has been active on social media about injustice and believes that he owes it to people to speak up during these times. “I feel like it’s my debt to society to speak up and use my platform to speak for the people that don’t have a voice. Kind of use my voice to get their point across,” Kuzma said.
“Especially with me having a big platform, I think it’s important to educate people. Throughout society we haven’t been taught the entire side of humanity and history here. I just try to talk about what I know and teach somebody something.”
While Kuzma is pleased the NBA has provided players with an opportunity to further their messages through jerseys, he wished it “would’ve not been so limited.”
“I feel like it could be more personal instead of less generic, (but) I think it’s still a step in the right direction,” Kuzma added.
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