Report: NBA, NBPA Agree on Approved List of Social Justice Messages for Jerseys

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2020

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, right, holds a
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association reportedly reached an agreement Friday on a list of approved social justice messages that players can use on their jerseys when the 2019-20 season resumes July 30 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated provided the words and phrases that can take the place of a player's last name during the first four days of the restart at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida:

"Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; I Can't Breathe; Justice; Peace; Equality; Freedom; Enough; Power to the People; Justice Now; Say Her Name; Si Se Puede (Yes We Can); Liberation; See Us; Hear Us; Respect Us; Love Us; Listen; Listen to Us; Stand Up; Ally; Anti-Racist; I Am A Man; Speak Up; How Many More; Group Economics; Education Reform; and Mentor."

Players can continue to use their choices after the first four days, but their names would then be included underneath the social justice messages and above their numbers, per Spears.

Players previously decided they wouldn't use the names of Black people who've been killed while in police custody or in racist attacks.

"We're just trying to continue to shed light on the different social justice issues that guys around our league continue to talk about day in and day out," Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul told Spears. "People are saying that social justice will be off of everybody's mind in Orlando. With these jerseys, it doesn't go away."

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Several of the league's current and former stars have taken part in the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the killing of Black man George Floyd while in Minneapolis Police custody in May.

One unnamed NBA player told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski last month he was concerned a return to play would shift the focus away from the movement for racial equality:

"Once we start playing basketball again, the news will turn from systemic racism to who did what in the game last night. It's a crucial time for us to be able to play and blend that and impact what's happening in our communities. We are asking ourselves, 'Where and how can we make the biggest impact?' Mental health is part of the discussion too, and how we handle all of that in a bubble."

Along with the uniform change, the NBA is expected to paint "Black Lives Matter" on the courts it will use in Orlando, according to Zach Lowe and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Games are scheduled to resume July 30 for a shortened eight-game finish to the regular season followed by a standard 16-team postseason.

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