Last week, the NBA, NBPA, and official jersey sponsor Nike agreed upon a list of social justice statements NBA players can use to replace their names to show their support towards the ongoing protests against social injustice. Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James will not use any such statement because he wasn’t consulted on the approved list.
According to CBS Sports, James applauds and commends anyone who would use such statements and is “ok” that he wasn’t consulted, but none of the approved statements are in line with his goal.
James had a couple of things (statements) in mind, but since they are not in the approved list, he would rather use his own name on his jersey instead.
The list of approved social justice messages are as follows: Black Lives Matter, Say Their Names, Vote, I Can’t Breathe, Justice, Peace, Equality, Freedom, Enough, Power to the People, 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.
The NBA has always been supportive of the social justice causes that their players are supporting. But the “approved official list” was created in an effort not to offend anyone. This is to prevent a similar outrage following the “White Lives Matter” incident last June in England, when a Burnley FC fan flew a banner saying “White Lives Matter” over Etihad Stadium.
The people responsible, Jake Hepple and Meghan Rambadt, have since been fired from their jobs and received daily harassment for their alleged racist comments.
James wore the “I Can’t Breathe” shirt with other NBA stars such as Kyrie Irving and the late Kobe Bryant during the warm-up session before his games with the Cavaliers back in 2014.
He is also one of the most vocal advocate players in the NBA. He spoke harshly against gun violence and opened a school for underprivileged students. He even received massive criticism on his comments over the NBA-China dispute last year.