The Los Angeles Lakers have officially gotten back to work as they are two seeding games into the NBA restart at the Walt Disney World bubble.
Although the focus for the past few weeks and moving forward be on basketball’s return, the NBA has been working in conjunction with the players on how to best approach raising awareness and taking action against social injustices, particularly issues plaguing the Black community.
Several players were concerned that playing would overshadow the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, but the likes of Los Angeles Lakers teammates Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma reasoned that playing actually amplifies their messages.
JaVale McGee agreed with that sentiment, further explaining how being in the NBA helps raise more awareness. “The way I feel is we have way more of a voice playing basketball,” McGee said.
“For example on Instagram, you post a picture of your family and if you’re a basketball player, there’s a couple likes. But if you post a basketball picture with the team you play for, I guarantee that one gets the most likes.
“Obviously, our fans are basketball fans over anything, so I feel like this is the biggest platform that we can speak about social injustices and everything we want. I feel like during the season is the best time to talk about it than during the offseason.”
The NBA allowed players to pick from a list of approved messages to put on the back of their jerseys during games. They include “Equality,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “Say Their Names,” and McGee’s selection, “Respect Us.”
“I definitely feel like respect is a key factor in social injustices,” he explained. “I feel like we definitely need to get equality and the same respect everybody else does. It’s just a blessing to have this platform and the NBA doing everything to help also. I’m really excited about it.”
LeBron James, Anthony Davis decided against jersey messages
While most of the Lakers roster has decided on their messages, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are opting to leave their names.
James is a prominent figure in the NBA and understands how large and wide his audience is, often voicing his opinion on important topics. While it is a bit of a surprise to see him and Davis not choosing a social message, it does not take away from the work they have already put in.
James, however, did mention he would have liked more involvement when the NBA was putting together their list, but the superstar figures to still be involved in any future league endeavors.
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