The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are planning to have "Black Lives Matter" painted in all three arenas where games will be played at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Fla., when the season resumes at the end of July. The painted phrase is expected to be inside both sidelines.
In the wake of nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, many players have expressed concern that starting up the NBA season again would be a distraction from the fight for racial equality. Kyrie Irving was perhaps the most vocal against players going to Orlando, saying that it was more important for them to speak out against systemic racism.
"I don’t support going into Orlando. I’m not with the systematic racism and the bulls--t," Irving said earlier this month. "Something smells a little fishy."
However, others have argued that the best way to spread an anti-racist message would be to use their platform to promote the Black Lives Matters movement. One of the ways players are expected to be able to show support for protesters is by replacing their last names on the back of their jerseys with statements about social justice, including "Black Lives Matter."
"The NBA and NBPA are planning to allow players to replace the last name on their jerseys with statement on social justice," The Athletic's Shams Charania tweeted.
The WNBA is also reportedly discussing painting "Black Lives Matter" on courts when they begin their shortened season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
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