There is news that in the upcoming NBA season, several players will put up short messages and slogans against social injustice on their jerseys. These slogans will find a place at the back of the jerseys in place of their last names. However, the headlines are that LeBron James will not be one of the players who are a part of this movement. Later, on July 11, LeBron James publicly explained the reason for him not putting up a slogan. He says that it is his personal choice not to mention anything other than his last name on his jersey. He said that it is a commendable job that so many players are going according to the list provided to them, and putting up slogans at the back of their jerseys. However, he does not want to do that solely because he cannot relate to such a thing. According to James, he does not find any resonation of such an activity with his goal or mission.
LeBron James opens up on and expresses his opinion about the façade regarding him not putting up a social injustice slogan. He says that he would have loved the fact if he was given the choice of what he wants to put up at the back of his jersey. Besides, he has so much in his mind regarding this. However, he is not complaining about the same. It is his personal choice to not find the need of highlighting something on his jersey to explain other people about his mission. The player feels that it is, according to him not a way to prove the reason for his existence.
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The decision of creating slogans
During the time of discussion about the resuming of games season, several people of the player’s union as well as the NBA expressed their views. According to them, there are chances that the upcoming game season may shift the focus of people from the social justice reformation and the BlackLivesMatter movement. So, the union and the club officials finally concluded this. They decided to come up with a list of slogans. The players can put these slogans on the back of their jerseys while they participate in the upcoming games. The slogans were not just about racism, but other aspects of social injustice as well.
The following are some of the terms that the players can put on their jerseys according to ESPN:
- Say Their Names
- I Can’t Breathe
- Justice Now
- Power to the People
- Say Her Name
- Yes We Can
- See Us
- Respect Us
- Hear Us
- Love Us
- Listen to Us
- Stand Up
- Speak Up
- I Am A Man
- How Many More
- Education Reform
- Group Economies
Are the players supporting the decision?
As per the reports from the ESPN, 285 out of the total of 350 NBA players have decided to put a slogan on the back of their jersey. Just like LeBron James, team member Anthony Davis has also refused to participate in the activity. The latter said that he was in a state of dilemma before deciding what to do. However, he thinks that his last name means more to him, even though social justice is important too. According to him, the last name holds up the respect of his family and says who he is. He feels that the surname represents all those people who have supported him throughout. So, for him, it is a symbol of gratitude for the ones who have seen him come up to this point in his life.
On the other hand, the slogan list has brought with it quite an amount of criticism too. A lot of players think that the messages are different from what they would have wanted to put on the back of their jerseys. Mike Scott, 76ers Forward from Philadelphia says that the board has given them a list of words instead of actual slogans. It is a shame, and a wrong choice completely. He added that the players had no say in the entire procedure, and now just have to choose from a list of words, which is terrible. Likewise, Jaylen Brown of Boston Celtics says that he finds some of the words from the list quite “limiting.”
Contribution of LeBron James
LeBron James is one of the few Black entertainers and athletes to form a voting rights organization back in June. The name of this organization is More Than a Vote, and its goal is strong. The group wants to help Afro-Americans to come out and cast a vote to prove the strength of their existence. James, on the other hand, has also established a school in his hometown in Akron, Ohio back in 2016. The institution mainly targets to uplift and groom the young people that are at risk.
On the July 11 interview, LeBron James expressed his determination to fight until there is some real change. He says that there will be no giving-up till the Black Americans get the respect that they deserve. The star NBA players say that he believes he and his team, the Lakers can entertain people with the way they play their game. Besides, he will also keep working relentlessly to bring a change for his fellow Black Americans too.