Anthony Davis' Lakers Jersey to Display Name, Not Social Justice Message

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2020

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis stands on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 117-105. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis will keep his last name on the back of his jersey when the NBA resumes the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Davis explained his decision on Sunday, citing the importance of representing his family.

"I think the name 'Davis' is something I try to represent every time I step on the floor with my family. I was torn between the two," Davis said, per Mark Medina of USA Today. "My last name is very important to me."

The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears reported the NBA reached an agreement with the National Basketball Players Association that would allow players to wear social justice-themed messages on their jerseys. Spears listed the 29 messages that will be approved for usage:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Mentor

Lakers star LeBron James told reporters Saturday he wouldn't be wearing any of the messages. He told reporters he respected the idea behind the effort but that it "didn't really seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal."

Spears reported on Wednesday that 285 players had committed to wearing one of the messages, with 17 choosing instead to wear their surname. "Equality" was the most popular pick, with "Black Lives Matter" in second.

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The campaign comes amid the ongoing protests against police brutality, systemic racism and social inequality across the country.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley spoke to ESPN's Malika Andrews and Adrian Wojnarowski on behalf of a players coalition seeking firm commitments from the NBA and its stakeholders to remedy the wider issues being highlighted.

The NBA confirmed it had met with the players' union "to address the game's role in facilitating solutions to the persistent inequities plaguing the Black community."

When the Philadelphia Union kicked off the MLS is Back tournament in Florida, their players wore the names of Black men and women who were the victims of police brutality.

Haynes reported the NBPA had considered a similar idea but that they were concerned with unintentionally upsetting the family and friends of victims who weren't referenced.

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