The restart of the NBA season in Orlando is just around the corner despite many players questioning in recent weeks if now is the correct time to return to playing.
Not only is the country still dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with cases continuing to rise every day, but also a lot of attention has been drawn to social issues and the Black Lives Matter movement in recent weeks after George Floyd and others were killed at the hands of police officers.
Some players feel that finishing the NBA season will take away from the movement and the greater goal. Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley announced he will sit out the rest of the season in part because of it.
The NBA is attempting to find ways to continue to advocate for the end of racial injustice, so they came up with a number of approved phrases that players can have on the back of their jerseys when play resumes.
Lakers All-Star LeBron James recently announced he won’t be participating in the initiative, deciding the wear his last name on the back of his jersey. He believes that he can continue to make an impact in the community without putting a phrase on his jersey, and also wasn’t happy that the league didn’t consult him when coming up with the approved phrases.
It appears the Lakers’ other star, Anthony Davis, feels the same way as he too will keep his last name, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo:
Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis will wear his last name on the back of his jersey, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 12, 2020
The Lakers are one of the closest teams in the league as far as chemistry goes, so it will be interesting to see if other players follow James and Davis’ lead or if they put one of the approved phrases on their backs.
Davis Believes Lakers Championship Odds Have Improved
Regardless of what James and Davis put on the back of their jerseys, they have both made it clear in recent days that their only goal of playing in Orlando is to win a championship.
Davis even went as far as to say that the Lakers’ championship odds improved after having so much time off.
“I think kind of the same. Obviously we’re missing a key piece with A.B., but I think our chances are the same,” he recently said. “We’ve got guys who are health and ready to go, so I think it’s kind of the same. Nothing changes from my standpoint.
“Actually, I think our chances are higher, just because we are all rested and ready to go. If anything our chances got higher. This season is going to be about who wants it more. Everybody kind of had a decompression from the season. Obviously there’s other stuff going on, but it’s about who wants it more and which team can stay healthy.”
If the Lakers stay healthy and pick up where they left off before the break then they should be one of the favorites to win it all, although there are so many factors involved in this unique situation so only time will tell if they hoist their 17th championship.
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