The NBA is going to paint “Black Lives Matter” on the sidelines of all three courts it will use to restart the season at Walt Disney World next month, according to ESPN, the latest move the league has made to help support racial and social justice pushes.
The NBA is also reportedly planning to let players change the last name on the back of their jerseys for the restart to a statement on social justice.
Players have been very vocal about these issues and the Black Lives Matter movement in recent weeks, following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody in May.
“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,” NBPA president Chris Paul told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “People are saying that social justice will be off of everybody’s mind in Orlando. With these jerseys, it doesn’t go away.”
The NBA will officially resume play on July 30 after halting operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic at Disney World near Orlando, Florida. Several players, including Kyrie Irving, have advocated that they don’t participate in the restart due to the Black Lives Matter movement — something they don’t want to detract from. Others, reportedly including LeBron James, think that playing can have a greater impact on the moment.
The court and jersey statements, though minor changes, are significant statements of support from the league — clearly proving it is behind the players who wish to speak out.
WNBA considering similar moves
The WNBA is going to hold a modified season roughly 100 miles away from the NBA at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and is considering making similar moves, too.
The WNBA, per the report, is discussing painting “Black Lives Matter” on its courts as well. Several players have also brought up wearing warm-up shirts that read “Say Her Name” on them, referencing Breonna Taylor’s death in Louisville.
Taylor, an EMT, was shot at least eight times and killed in March after police used a battering ram to enter her and her boyfriend’s apartment in the middle of the night as part of a drug investigation, according to The New York Times. No drugs were found in the apartment.
Multiple WNBA players have already announced that they will be opting-out of the season for various reasons — including many to continue the push for social justice reform.
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