The NBA is just starting to regroup and attempt to finish what has been a wild ride of a 2019-20 season. The pandemic put the brakes on the season on March 11 when Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). George Floyd’s death on May 25 then sparked a nationwide concern regarding social injustice. NBA players have since expressed concern about a return, mainly for two reasons: safety and interrupting the fight against social inequality. While NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has addressed the latter by allowing players to use their platform by allowing messages on the jerseys, Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers offered the perfect reason for declining.
Adam Silver allowing social justices messages on jerseys
Later this month, the NBA is expected to resume its season in Orlando, Florida. While the COVID-19 cases have rapidly spiked in Florida recently, the NBA will be played in a ‘bubble’ in which the players are confined for the rest of the season. Several players have opted out of the return for various reasons. One concern some players had was that resuming basketball might interfere with their fight against social injustice.
“The point that some of the guys are raising about not playing is, basically, we don’t want to be a distraction,” Lou Williams said to ESPN on June 19. “For us, the only benefit of us not playing is to keep the focus on the fight.” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said the league is allowing players to use their platform and post messages on the back of their jerseys related to social inequality.
“The league and the players are uniquely positioned to have a direct impact on combating systemic racism in our country, and we are committed to collective action to build a more equal and just society,” Silver said on NBA.com. “A shared goal of our season restart will be to use our platform in Orlando to bring attention to these important issues of social justice.”
LeBron James won’t wear a message
The NBA and the NBA Players Association agreed on a list of messages that players could wear on the back of their jerseys to help raise awareness of social injustice. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has been active in raising awareness himself. He also recently stated he won’t be wearing a message on his uniform.
“It’s no disrespect to the list that was handed out to all the players,” James, wearing a More Than an Athlete hat, told reporters on a video conference call Saturday, according to USA Today. “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.” Nearly 300 NBA players have chosen to put a message on their jerseys.
Anthony Davis has perfect reason why he’ll leave his jersey as is
LeBron James won’t be the only Los Angeles Lakers star going without a message across the back of his jersey when the NBA resumes its season on July 30. Anthony Davis has also said he won’t be having one and he offered his reasons. He said he “was torn” but opted to remain with his own name.
“For me, I think the name ‘Davis’ is something I try to represent every time I step on the floor,” he said, according to NBA.com. “I just think my last name is something that’s very important to me, and also social justice as well. But (I’m) just holding my family name and representing the name on the back to go through this process … and people who have been with me through my entire career to help me get to this point, while still kind of bringing up things that we can do for social injustice.”