The George Floyd incident sparked another round of peaceful and violent social justice protests in the United States and around the world. NBA players, active and retired, are historically known to be active participants of such campaigns, and the league supported them by allowing social justice statements to be displayed in their jerseys.
The NBA 2019-20 season restart encountered a hiccup during the implementation stage after superstar Kyrie Irving convinced other players to opt-out of the games as a form of protest. The NBA, NBPA, and the official jersey sponsor Nike responded by allowing social justice statements to be printed on their jerseys instead of their names.
A majority of those playing for the 22 teams still involved in the NBA restart decided to post a social justice statement. According to The Undefeated, here are some of the more popular choices displayed by players on their jerseys.
"Equality" 76 players
Equality is by far the most popular statement in NBA player jerseys in the Orlando bubble, with 76 players sporting the same phrase in different languages.
The Entire Dallas Mavericks team is sporting "Equality" with Luka Doncic having "Enakopravnost," which means the same in Slovenian. J.J. Barea has it in Spanish, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in French, Maxi Kleber in German, and Kristaps Porzingis in Latvian.
Mavericks Big Man Dwight Powell explains the choice.
"Equality is something that we know is mighty important, especially right now with what's going on. For some of the guys to put that in their native language kind of lends to the fact that we're all part of this conversation regardless of where you come from or your race, creed, religion or whatever it may be."
Other notable players sporting "Equality" are New Orleans Pelicans players Lorenzo Ball and Jahil Okafor. Milwaukee Bucks siblings Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo also have the same. NBPA President and Los Angeles Clippers player Chris Paul and the NBA's 1st coronavirus victim Rudy Gobert also have equality on their jerseys.
"Black Lives Matter" 47 players
Black Lives Matter is the movement currently fuelling the unrest that resulted from the George Floyd incident. It's no surprise that it's the second most popular statement chosen by NBA players.
Here is a partial list of players who decided to post this statement instead of their names; Russell Westbrook, Jayson Tatum, Bol Bol, Tyler Cook, Troy Daniels, Robert Covington, Zach Collins, Bam Adebayo, and Richaun Holmes.
"Peace" 21 players
The third most popular is the time-honoured Miss Universe statement "Peace." Here are some of the players who decided to wear it on their jerseys; Carmelo Anthony, Zion Williamson, Jordan Clarkson, Kostas Antetokounmpo, Yuta Watanabe, Alex Len, and Kyle Alexander.
Bosnian player for the Brooklyn Nets, Dzanan Musa has "Peace or Equality" in his jersey. Interestingly, it's "or" and not "and."
Miami Heat veteran Jimmy Butler has a blank statement saying "With no message, no name, it's going back to who I was. If I wasn't who I was today, I'm no different than anybody else of colour … I wanted that to be my message."
Active social justice advocate and NBA superstar LeBron James used his own name, claiming that none of the approved social justice statements is in line with his goals.
"I Can't Breathe," one of the earliest statements displayed by NBA players including James and the late Kobe Bryant, is only worn by 9 players.