Kawhi Leonard gives his opinion on the statements on back of NBA jerseys.
The main focus of the NBA was initially their return-to-play plan at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Following the death of George Floyd, that focus then shifted to the Black Lives Matter movement, and whether resuming the NBA season would be more of a distraction than a help.
Commissioner Adam Silver allowed each player to select one of 29 approved statements that they can place on the back of their jerseys to raise awareness for a variety of social justice movements. While a majority participated, the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis opted against it, though they didn’t deter their colleagues from wearing one.
Upon his arrival at the Orlando bubble, LA Clippers star Kawhi Leonard expressed his belief that the work players do off the court is way more important than the statement they wear on their uniforms.
Kawhi Leonard has actively given back to his community
Prior to being traded to the Toronto Raptors in 2018, Leonard had expressed his desire to play for a Los Angeles team. After winning the NBA championship, Leonard signed a massive contract with the Clippers, due to his desire to return home to Southern California. By doing so, Leonard had the opportunity to work closely with his childhood neighborhood, Moreno Valley.
Last year, Leonard donated over one million backpacks to Southern California students. During the Clippers’ game against the Denver Nuggets on Feb. 28, Leonard provided backpacks to all 19,000-plus in attendance and urged them to pay it forward by filling the bags with blankets, food, and books for those in need. Prior to that game, Leonard gave book bags filled with supplies and Chromebooks to Palm Middle School students, his childhood middle school.
While the jersey statements will help raise awareness for social reform, that’s only the first step to bring active change. If individuals, famous or not, want to better their respective communities, then they have to put in the work like Leonard.