NBA Stars Reveal What Social Justice Messages They're Wearing

Jordan Cohn
July 14, 2020 - 6:05 am

The NBA, perhaps as a response to several players opining that the bubble season would take away from the important protests continuing to rage across the country, released a list of approved social justice messages that the athletes can wear on their uniforms.

"Black Lives Matter," "Say Their Names," and "I Can't Breathe" are among the many messages that have been permitted. Some players have expressed their disappointment with the list, including the Celtics' Jaylen Brown, who would like more options (according to Tom Westerholm of MassLive).

However, many players are using the opportunity to select the messages which they find most important to share, while some are opting not to use any of the messages at all.

So far, "Equality" is the message that will be seen on the largest amount of jerseys, followed by "Black Lives Matter" (according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN). Below you'll find a list, sorted by team, of the messages that players will be displaying on their jerseys throughout the resumed NBA season.

This list is inconclusive and comprised of only players on the 22 teams in Orlando who have shared their messages. It will be updated periodically as more selections become revealed.

Boston Celtics

Enes Kanter - "Freedom"

Marcus Smart - Smart said he wanted to put "I Matter" on the back of his jersey, but that wasn't among the choices, and he will go with "Freedom" instead.

Jaylen Brown - As mentioned above, Brown was disappointed in the limited amount of messages available. He also said that he thinks the restart will "enhance, rather than dim" the social justice movement. In terms of what he'll wear, he's "leaning toward just leaving it blank."

Gordon Hayward - "Education Reform"

Semi Ojeleye - "Love Us"

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets released a video featuring each of their players' choices.

Jarrett Allen - "Si Se Puede"

Justin Anderson - "Equality"

Chris Chiozza - "Black Lives Matter"

Jamal Crawford - "Equality"

Donta Hall - "Equality"

Joe Harris - "Equality"

Tyler Johnson - "How Many More"

Rodions Kurucs - "Peace"

Caris LeVert - "Black Lives Matter"

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot - "Liberte"

Jeremiah Martin - "How Many More"

Dzanan Musa - "Peace"

Garrett Temple - "Education Reform"

Lance Thomas - "Say Her Name"

Dallas Mavericks

The entire Mavericks team will wear the same word on their uniforms -- “Equality” -- though in the case of foreign-born players like Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, the word will be translated into their native languages (via Mike Fisher).

Denver Nuggets

According to Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports, the social justice messages selected are as follows:

The team has also reportedly been taking pictures with messages like "Vote" and "Time for a change" amid the Denver skyline, according to Alex Labidou of

Will Barton said he opted not to wear a message, giving the following explanation (via ABC7 Amarillo):

"If we think just us going out there, putting names on the back of our jerseys and still talking about it in the media is going to fix anything, we're fooling ourselves."

Houston Rockets

Star James Harden says he hasn't decided whether or not he'll use a social justice message.

Russell Westbrook and the NBPA have partnered up to release a number of shirts with social justice messages.

Robert Covington revealed that his jersey will share a social justice message, but said that we'll "have to wait" to see what he chose (via Ben DuBose of USA Today).

Ben McLemore says that he will rock customized social justice shoes, one of which is inscribed with "Black Lives Matter" and the other of which reads "Equality" (via DuBose). He has not yet spoken on the message he'll use for his jersey.

Austin Rivers - Rivers wanted to honor Trayvon Martin initially, saying that the list is too limited. He won't wear a message.

Tyson Chandler - The veteran center will not wear a message.

Indiana Pacers

Malcolm Brogdon says he will wear a message, but has not revealed which one to this point.

Los Angeles Clippers

Kawhi Leonard - Leonard did not reveal what message he'd use, but did share his thoughts on the matter, saying "It doesn’t matter if we have a statement on the back of our jersey, it’s about doing the work" (via Mark Medina of USA Today).

Patrick Beverley - Beverley will be wearing his last name. When questioned about his jersey, the guard responded "it's gonna be Beverley. Doesn't it say enough?"

Montrezl Harrell - "How Many More?"

Ivica Zubac - "Enough"

Rodney McGruder - "Peace"

Los Angeles Lakers

Lebron James - LeBron will go without a message on his jersey, saying that going with one of the messages on the list "didn't really seriously resonate" with his mission and that he doesn't need a message for people to know what his goals are.

Anthony Davis - Davis, like LeBron, opted not to go with a message, saying that he was torn but that representing his family is very important to him.

Danny Green - "How Many More?"

JaVale McGee - “Respect Us

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - KCP says he's leaning toward staying with his name as opposed to using a message.

Alex Caruso - "Black Lives Matter"

Quinn Cook - "Say Their Names"

Dion Waiters - "Black Lives Matter"

Memphis Grizzlies

Justise Winslow - "Speak Up"

De'Anthony Melton - No Message

Miami Heat

The Heat released all of their players' decisions on Twitter.

You can read more about Butler's decision to wear a blank jersey here.

Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo - "Equality"

Khris Middleton - "Black Lives Matter"

Kyle Korver - "Black Lives Matter"

Pat Connaughton - "Equality"

New Orleans Pelicans

Lonzo Ball - Ball says that he submitted “Equality” as his top choice and “Black Lives Matter” as his second.

Jrue Holiday - "Say Their Names"

Oklahoma City Thunder

Chris Paul - "Equality"

Hamidou Diallo - "Black Lives Matter"

Orlando Magic

Aaron Gordon - "Freedom"

Nikola Vucevic - “Equality

Philadelphia 76ers

Joel Embiid - The three-time All-Star says that he plans to wear his last name on the back of his jersey, as usual.

Matisse Thybulle - "Vote"

Al Horford - Horford told media he will not have a message on his jersey, agreeing with Mike Scott that the league should not have limited players to a certain list of messages.

Phoenix Suns

Kelly Oubre - "Peace"

Jevon Carter - “Respect Us

Portland Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard - "How Many More?"

CJ McCollum - "Education Reform"

Jusuf Nurkic - "Equality"

Zach Collins - Collins submitted “Black Lives Matter” as his first choice, followed by “Equality” as his second.

Anfernee Simons - "I Can't Breathe"

Carmelo Anthony is still thinking about the message he wants to use, according to AJ McCord of KOIN News in Portland, who also says that there is another unnamed Blazers guard who will go with "I Am A Man."

Sacramento Kings

All members of the Kings did select a message, per Sean Cunningham. The following have been publicly released:

De'Aaron Fox - "Anti-Racist"

Marvin Bagley III - "Freedom"

Bogdan Bogdanovic - "Freedom," but in his native Serbian language, so "Sloboda"

Kent Bazemore - "Education Reform"

Yogi Ferrell - "How Many More"

Harry Giles - "Say Her Name"

Cory Joseph - "Black Lives Matter"

Justin James - "Peace"

San Antonio Spurs

Marco Belinelli - “Equality

Toronto Raptors

Fred VanVleet - VanVleet told reporters that he wishes he could wear "everybody's name ever," but will consult with his high school coach for advice on what message to choose (via Lori Ewing of The Canadian Press).

Norman Powell - Before the NBA's list was released, Powell said he was mulling over 10-12 different messages that he had taken into consideration for his jersey. Though he ultimately decided on "Black Lives Matter," he said he was angry that the league provided a limited list of 'cookie cutter' messages. He wanted to go with "Am I Next?" instead.

Patrick McCaw - "Say Their Names"

Utah Jazz

Rudy Gobert - "Equality"

Mike Conley - "I Am A Man"

Jordan Clarkson - "Peace"

Washington Wizards

Moe Wagner - "Vote"

Johnathan Williams - "Say Her Name"

Ian Mahinmi - "Vote"

Troy Brown Jr. - "Black Lives Matter"

Jerome Robinson - "Black Lives Matter"

Shabazz Napier - "Equality"

Admiral Schofield - "Enough"

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