Why doesn’t Lebron James have a social justice message on his NBA Jersey?


Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

With the NBA Bubble changing the memory of the 2020 NBA season forever, you can be forgiven for not understanding everything that’s going on. So many new rules, things to focus on and talking points outside of the… who’s going to guard who in the Western Conference Finals (Kawhi will Guard Lebron by the way). It may have only just dawned on you that not all players are wearing social justice messages on their NBA jerseys. Not least the incumbent NBA Alpha – Lebron James

Why doesn’t Lebron James have a social justice message on his NBA JerseyLebron James announced on 11th July 2020 that he would not be selecting a social justice message to wear on his NBA jersey in the NBA Bubble. Stating that it didn’t “resonate with his mission” during a video conference call with journalists. He went on to clarify that he had had no input into the concept of players wearing social justice messages, or what they might be. Adding that if he had been asked, he would have had contributions to make to the idea. His teammate Anthony Davis is also opting to wear his family name on his jersey instead of a social justice message. 

If you’re unsure what this new terminology is don’t worry, we’ve got some answers for you below. 

Is Lebron James the only player not wearing a social justice message on his NBA jersey? 

No, his teammate and fellow Superstar on the Lakers Anthony Davis has also opted not to have a social justice message on his jersey. Approximately 20 players from around 300 playing inside the NBA Bubble have made the same choice as Lebron and Davis. 

Will the rest of the Lakers team follow Lebron and opt to use their family names as well? 

This is unlikely, the majority have already announced their selection. This is a very personal choice and it is expected that the majority of players will continue with the choice they have already made. 

Is this just Lebron James playing politics because he wasn’t involved in the decision to allow social justice messages on NBA player jerseys? 

This one is also incredibly unlikely. Lebron is a well-known rights activist and has been see to wear T-shirts with social justice slogans on before. The most likely reason for his decision is that he feels that by not doing the same as the rest of the league he will be able to draw more attention to the cause. 

What Social Justice Messages could Lebron James have chosen from? 

The full list was published by the NBA and reads as follows: 

Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; Justice; Peace; Equality; Freedom; Enough; Power to the People; Justice Now; Say Her Name; Si 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. 

Can I buy an NBA Jersey with a social Justice message on it? 

This is currently unclear; they are not officially available for sale. It may be possible to get one through the NBA’s personalisation services. We’ll keep you updated if this changes! 

Louis

I fell in love with Basketball when I was about 9 years old. Since then I have played on, coached and organised many teams. I've followed the NBA ever since. With no home team I've always rooted for teams and players I like the style of. The last 2 decades that's meant Greg Popoviches Spurs for the most part. My favourite NBA podcasts are The Lowe Post, Open Floor and The Ringers "The Mismatch".

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