As the NBA restart games arrive in Orlando, players will be carrying special social justice messages on their jerseys. The San Antonio Spurs will be participants, as they begin their restart on Friday. Just recently, it was revealed what messages each of the Spurs’ players will have on the back of their jerseys. Marco Belinelli will carry a unique word on his, with the message the same as others.
NBA Restart Games to Continue to Raise Awareness for Social Justice
Ahead of the NBA restart, the main concerns amongst many of the players involved the ongoing coronavirus pandemic along with the notion that continued awareness for social justice would be brushed aside. The NBA has made sure that’s not the case, as they’ve allowed players to give pre-game demonstrations and wear the jerseys with social justice messages on the back.
Not all players will display a word or message on the back of their jersey as some opted to continue to have their names on display. Those who decided to have a social justice message chose from an NBA/NBPA-approved list of 29 different words or phrases.
That list of messages included (per ESPN’s report):
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 Boston Celtics were one of the first teams to give a preview of what their jerseys will look like on social media.
Spurs Players’ Jersey Messages Revealed
The first time that fans will see the social justice jerseys will be on Thursday, July 30, as there is an NBA doubleheader. The first game features the New Orleans Pelicans vs. Utah Jazz. LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers take on Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers in the second game.
The San Antonio Spurs will begin their NBA restart games on Friday. That’s when fans will be able to see Spurs players with the specific messages on their jerseys as listed below:
- Lonnie Walker IV: “Black Lives Matter
- Keldon Johnson: “Justice”
- Derrick White: “Enough”
- Bryn Forbes: “Equality”
- Drew Eubanks: “Justice”
- Quinndary Weatherspoon: “I Can’t Breathe”
- Marco Belinelli: “Uguaglianza”
- Luka Samanic: “Freedom”
- Jakob Poeltl: “Black Lives Matter”
- Rudy Gay: “Justice”
- DeMar DeRozan: “Education Reform”
- Trey Lyles (out due to appendicitis): “Antiracist”
As seen above, the Spurs’ Marco Belinelli will have Uguaglianza on his jersey which is the Italian word for equality.
NBA, Players Continue Social Justice Awareness and Support of Causes
The league is doing quite a bit to help raise awareness. In addition to jerseys, the NBA also has “Black Lives Matter” printed across the hardwood on which games are being played. A first look at the NBA bubble court arrived not long ago showing off the court at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex.
Many players and some coaches have also been vocal during their interviews while in Florida about various social justice causes to continue awareness. Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has continued to stress the importance of using the restart as an opportunity to continue raising awareness.
In addition, several players are making generous gestures including the Spurs’ Patty Mills. The San Antonio guard indicated he would donate his remaining salary from the restart to various social justice organizations.
The first NBA restart game is set for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time (5:30 p.m. CDT) on TNT. The San Antonio Spurs will play their first game, against the Sacramento Kings, on Friday at 8 p.m. Eastern Time (7 p.m. CDT).