With a players’ coalition forming to express their concern over the NBA restart distracting from social justice movements, the league worked with the union to facilitate a return that would amplify their voices.
Part of that amounted to putting together a list of social justice messages that players could wear in the back of jerseys in lieu of their last name. Danny Green and JaVale McGee are among the Los Angeles Lakers known to be capitalizing on the opportunity.
LeBron James, as strong of voice as any among professional athletes and public figures, won’t be following suit. “I actually didn’t go with a message on the back of my jersey. It’s no disrespect to the list that was handed out to all the players,” he said. “I commend anyone that decides to put something on the back of their jersey.”
James’ decision didn’t stem from not wanting to support the initiative and its messages but rather he didn’t feel it best suited his approach. “It’s just something that didn’t really serious resonate with my mission, with my goal,” James explained.
“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. 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.”
Jared Dudley campaigned for LeBron James, Anthony Davis
The idea that James could — or should — have been involved in the process of determining which social justice messages to choose from was an idea Jared Dudley recently suggested.
“I love the Players Association, I love everything that they do, but I wish more players outside of the Players Association would have more of a say,” Dudley said. “What if LeBron or A.D. wanted something different?
“Maybe they could voice it and get that approved. That would be nice. I just think the NBA, we lead. Adam Silver is the best, he’s trying to make it right, he’s trying to bring awareness.”
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