“I didn’t go with a name on the back of my jersey,” James said Saturday. “It was no disrespect to the list that was handed down to all the players. I commend anyone that decides something on the back of our jersey. Just something that didn’t seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal.
“I would have loved to have a say so on what would have went on the back of the jersey, but I’m OK with that. … I don’t need to have something on the back of the jersey for people to understand my mission and what I’m about.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, 285 of the expected 350 eligible NBA players had picked a social justice message to put on their jerseys while 17 have opted to continue to use their names instead, National Basketball Players’ Association executive director Michele Roberts told ESPN’s The Undefeated.
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.
James said there never was a time that he thought the NBA season wouldn’t resume after the league came to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“No, never crossed my mind that we did not need to play this beautiful game of basketball that brings so many people together,” James said. “That brings happiness. That brings joy to the households of so many families.”