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'Equality' and 'Black Lives Matter' Most Popular Messages for NBA Jerseys

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2020

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

"Equality" and "Black Lives Matter" are the two most popular phrases NBA players will use on the back of their jerseys when the 2019-20 season resumes in Orlando later this month.  

NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that 285 of the 350 players expected to be in Orlando have chosen to have social justice messaging on their jerseys in place of their last name. Seventeen players will keep their last name, while the league is still awaiting word from the remaining players.

"The players have taken this seriously with what they're going to put on their jerseys, understanding that they were going to have a platform giving a message to a wide variety of people," Roberts said. "Given the large number of guys that are participating, I think these men appreciate that this is a chance to do exactly what they wanted to do. Keep the conversation going.

"The guys are excited to get back to the game. Hopefully, we can work to have some great basketball and give some great messages."

The players had their choice of the following options for the back of their jerseys: 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; Sí 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.

The jersey phrases are one of a number of social justice messages the NBA plans on delivering from Orlando. Both ends of the court will have "Black Lives Matter" displayed prominently, and the league and union remain in discussion regarding other potential displays.

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The social justice messaging will appear in place of a player's name for the first four days of the restart. If a player chooses to continue displaying the justice message, his last name will be placed below his number after the first four days.

NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum says players will be provided with "Black Lives Matter" shooting shirts to wear, along with hoodies and shirts with phrases that include "Everybody Love Everybody," "Make the Change" and "Break the Cycle."

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