Anthony Davis Talks Decision Not to Wear Social Justice Message on Lakers Jersey

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 12, 2020

ORLANDO, FL - JULY 11: Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots during practice as part of the NBA Restart 2020 on July 11, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bill Baptist/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis will not be wearing a social justice message on the back of his jersey, an option that the NBA is allowing all players to take during the league's upcoming restart.

"I think the name 'Davis' is something I try to represent every time I step on the floor with my family," Davis told reporters Sunday.

"I was torn between the two," Davis said, before adding that "my last name is very important to me."

Like Davis, Lakers guard/forward LeBron James has also opted against picking a message:

"It's no disrespect to the list that was handed out to all the players. I commend anyone who decides to put something on the back of their jersey. It's just something that didn't really seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal. I would've loved to have had a say-so on what would have went on the back of my jersey. I had a couple of things in mind, but I wasn't part of that process, which is OK. I'm absolutely OK with that."

NBA players can choose from 29 slogans to put on the back of their jerseys, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

"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 name will go above the jersey number for the first four nights of the NBA's restart, per Spears. If players choose to keep the message for the rest of the restart, then the message will be moved below the number.

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The decision to allow social justice messages on the back of jerseys hasn't been met with universal optimism.

Of note, Philadelphia 76ers forward Mike Scott told reporters the following:

"They gave us some ... phrases to put on the back of our jerseys. That was terrible. It was just a bad list, a bad choice. They didn't give players a chance to voice their opinion on them. They just gave us a list to pick from.

"So that was bad. That was terrible."

He added:

"But I'm all about doing instead of just saying, or posting, or putting [something] on the back of your jersey," he said. "I don't think that's going to stop anything."

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown was also "very disappointed in the list that was agreed to," telling reporters that he would have preferred more options.

Many players are in favor of the messages or will at least sport them during the restart. The Undefeated (h/t USA Today's Jeff Zillgitt) reported that nearly 300 players have chosen to take part.

Some players' choices have already been made public. Of note, Milwaukee Bucks guard Kyle Korver will have "Black Lives Matter" on the back of his jersey.

The first regular-season game of the NBA's restart will take place July 30 when the Utah Jazz play the New Orleans Pelicans. All games will occur at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida.

Davis, James and the Lakers will then follow the Jazz and Pels in a matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers later that evening.

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