Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis is joining teammate LeBron James in passing on placing a social justice message on the back of his jersey when the NBA season starts again.
“I think the name Davis is something I try to represent every time I step on the floor,” he said Sunday during a video conference call with reporters.
“I just think my last name is something that is very important to me. 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 … while still kind of bringing up things that we can do for social injustice.”
On Saturday, James told reporters that none of the 29 approved phrases appealed to him.
“It was no disrespect to the list that was handed out to all the players,” James said. “I commend anyone that 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 have loved to have a say-so on what would have went on the back of my jersey. I had a couple things in mind, but I wasn’t part of that process, which is OK. I’m absolutely OK with that.”
One player to go all in on the messaging is veteran Kyle Korver, who has spoken in the past about his “white privilege.” The 39-year-old Milwaukee Bucks guard has chosen Black Lives Matter as his message.
“I just think that in this moment in time, this is the message. Anything I would ever hope to convey on the back of a jersey is represented in these three words,” Korver told The Undefeated via text message on Sunday.
Activism among NBA players has increased since the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in May after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The jersey messages allow players to continue making a statement while playing in the bubble atmosphere near Orlando.
“It’s a great opportunity. It’s a unique moment. We’re not able to interact with each other very much yet because of the safety protocols in place. But I think everyone is very aware of the opportunity and wants to capitalize on it,” said Korver, who is seeking his first NBA title in his 17th season.
The Undefeated reported that as of Saturday, all 350 players had decided whether to place a message on their jerseys, with at least 17 deciding against it.