Restarted NBA Season Will Feature Players Sharing Social Justice Messages on Jerseys

The agreement would see players replace their last names with social justice messages they want to showcase

NBA BLM Jerseys
Members of the Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics basketball teams rally at the MLK Memorial to support Black Lives Matter and to mark the liberation of slavery on June 19, 2020.
Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images

Though the NBA is dealing with an uptick in coronavirus cases as it prepares to restart its season, it does appear that basketball will return in some fashion on July 30. As part of the restart, the league will reportedly allow players to replace their names on the back jerseys in favor of messages regarding social justice.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the news on Twitter, saying that the league and the players’ union, the National Basketball Players Association, agreed on the new rule.

The NBA will be following the Premier League’s lead, who placed “Black Lives Matter” on the back of all jerseys for the first weekend back on the field earlier this month. However, unlike England’s top soccer league, the NBA will allow the players to customize the messages or, if they choose, forego the action in favor of their last names, as per usual.

Speaking to The Undefeated, NBPA president Chris Paul said that the players want to help raise awareness for social causes they believe in:

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. People are saying that social justice will be off of everybody’s mind in Orlando. With these jerseys, it doesn’t go away.

NBA players have attended protests around the country for racial equality, from Jaylen Brown to members of the Washington Wizards. Some other players, like Kyrie Irving, believe that the season should not restart in favor of deferring to the movement across the country; others, like LeBron James, believe the league should return and help shed a light on those same issues.

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