NBA Players Allowed to Wear 'Black Lives Matter' Message on Jerseys

The NBA has agreed that 29 social justice messages can be worn on players' jerseys when the the season resumes on July 30.

The messages, ranging from "Black Lives Matter" and "Power to the People," to "Say Their Names" and "I Can't Breathe," will replace the player's name on the back of their shirt for the first four days of play.

"I just think the NBA, we lead," said Lakers player Jared Dudley, who is in full support of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's decision. "Adam Silver, to me, is the best. He's trying to make it right, trying to bring awareness front and center," he told The Los Angeles Times.

Following the initial timeframe, names will return to shirts, but players may keep messages of support on their jerseys and choose to put their names below their numbers if they wish.

The restart of the basketball season is set to take place at Walt Disney World resort in Florida, with the following shirt slogans approved: Black Lives Matter, Power to the People, I Can't Breathe, Say Their Names, Vote, Justice, Peace, Equality, Freedom, Enough, Justice Now, Say Her Name, Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can), Liberation, See Us, Hear Us, Respect Us, Love Us, Listen, Listen to Us, Stand Up, Ally, Anti-Racist, I Am A Man, Speak Up, How Many More, Group Economics, Education Reform, and Mentor.

Players are not required to pick one of the above phrases to wear on their jerseys, but those who do can submit their top two choices from the list before games commence.

The NBA and union officials deliberated extensively on best way to support the social justice causes highlighted since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis while in police custody. "Black Lives Matter" will also be printed on the basketball courts in highly visible positions.

The NBA said in a statement: "A central goal of our season restart will be to utilize the NBA's platform to bring attention and sustained action to issues of social injustice, including combating systemic racism, expanding educational and economic opportunities across the Black community."

However, for some, restarting the NBA season has brought about health concerns. The season is set to commence in a "bubble" environment, but there are fears it will put players in danger of contracting the COVID-19 virus. NBA players were able to choose not to play the upcoming tournament, without facing disciplinary action, until June 24.

Those who have opted out of the season include Lakers guard Avery Bradley, whose oldest child, Liam, has respiratory issues that make him unlikely to be medically cleared to enter the bubble.

"At a time like this, I can't imagine making any decision that might put my family's health and well-being at even the slightest risk," said Bradley in a statement.

The NBA league ceased play during mid-March as a result of growing health concerns surrounding coronavirus.

I Can't Breathe sign
Outside of the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, before a basketball game in 2014, protestors demonstrate against the failure to indict a police officer for allegedly choking Eric Garner to death. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images