NBA Considering Allowing Players to Wear Personalized Social Justice Messages on Jerseys

Ross Houston
June 29, 2020

"People are saying that social justice will be off of everybody's mind in Orlando".

On Friday, Thunder guard and NBPA president Chris Paul said players were committed to using their platform to promote change this summer. "With these jerseys, it doesn't go away".

The personalized statements on jerseys are part of a long list of social justice messages the players plan to make through the remainder of the season, which restarts July 30 in Orlando, Florida.

Paul has discussed the idea of the personalized jerseys with multiple players, including some who are not Black.

Messages like "Black Lives Matter" or "I Can't Breathe" or the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor or Ahmaud Arbery could replace the players' names on the backs of their uniforms.

Paul added that players would not be pressured to add social justice slogans to their jerseys, but they will be confronted with a range of options from which to choose.

"The guys I talked to were definitely excited", Paul, 35, said. It also gives guys a chance to shine a light on something they are passionate about.

ESPN's Marc Spears spoke with Paul about the fact that players will be permitted to express themselves in such a manner.

Since then, commissioner Adam Silver and players union head Michele Roberts have spoken about the importance of finding a way for the NBA's return to help advance the conversation surrounding racial injustice, not subtract from it.

Paul and his fellow athletes in the National Basketball Association and other sports have taken part in Black Lives Matter marches after Floyd's death, and Paul acknowledged that some players could wear the names of those who have been killed, if they get approval from their families. "You're going to continue to hear us and see us".

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