After the killing of George Floyd in late May, many companies have been using their platform to promote the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice messages. 

The NBA, which is returning at the end of July, after being postponed due to COVID concerns, has just announced players will be able to switch their last names on their jersey with a message for social justice. 

ESPN reported the list of proposed messages.

The list of the suggested messages that were agreed on by the NBPA and the NBA and then made available to players via email, per the source, are: 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.

Wait, “I am a man?”

How did that get past their woke filters?

NBA hall of famer and popular analyst Charles Barkley described it as a “circus.” 

He said, “We need police reform, we need prison reform. My concern is turning this into a circus instead of trying to do some good stuff.”

Barkley went on to criticize the “Defund the Police” movement. “We need the cops, most of the cops do a fantastic job, but instead of defunding and all this other stuff, let’s just do police reform. Everybody should be on board for that whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, conservative or liberal,

Not all NBA players are going to display messages. Anthony Davis and LeBron James, the all star duo for the Lakers, explained why they are not going to display messages on their jerseys. 

Davis said, “I just think my last name is something that is very important to me. Social justice is as well, but it’s just holding my family name and representing the name on the back to go through this process. … There’s people who’ve been with me through my entire career to help me get to this point.”

James has been extremely outspoken over the last few months over police brutality and the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. However, he said the messages do not really “resonate with his mission.” 

This is not the first time NBA players have worn social justice messages at games. In 2014, Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, LeBron James, and many others wore black warmup shirts conveying the message, “I Can’t Breathe.” These shirts were in reference to the killing of Eric Garner, the 27 year old man who suffered a heart attack after being put in a chokehold by NYPD for selling unlicensed cigarettes. 

There are serious problems which need to be addressed involving police reform and training. NBA Jerseys are not the place where the change will happen.

These times have been hard enough with the COVID pandemic ravaging the world and protests exploding all across America. The NBA would offer some relief with the return of sports. Now it will also be political. Barkley said, “The last thing they want to do is turn on the television and hear arguments all the time.” 

Interestingly, the NBA isn’t down with all the messages of social justice.  At least not for fans.

Sports pundit Clay Travis went to the NBA’s website, which allows the fan to make custom jerseys.

 “The NBA bans you, the fan, from putting #freehongkong on customized league jerseys even as they allow players to wear customized jerseys,” he tweeted.

But it didn’t think to eliminate all of the phrases that could offend their communist overlords:

As one Twitter user Aaron Fournier noted, “It’s so the people making the jersey don’t get executed for treason.”


Maybe the NBA isn’t political enough.

Hat Tip: Daily Wire, ESPN, USA Today

Image Credit: Wikipedia

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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