Following the lead of his All-Star teammateLeBron James, Lakers big man Anthony Davis said hewill wear his last name on the back of his jersey instead of a social justice message when the NBA restarts its season in Florida later this month.
Speaking to reporters Sunday in a conference call following the Lakers’ practice at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex outside Orlando, Davis said he chose to use his name over one of the NBA’s 29 approved social justice slogans to continue to honor his family.
“I was kind of torn between the two,” the seven-time All-Star said.
“I just think my last name is something that is very important to me, and social justice as well,” he added. “But [I’m] just holding my family name and representing the name on the back to go through this process . . .and people who have been with me through my entire career to help me get to this point.”
James, one of the league’s more outspoken players on the topic of racial inequality, said Saturday that the available messages “didn’t seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal.”
“Everything that I do has a purpose, has a meaning,” the four-time NBA MVP said. “I don’t need to have something on the back of my jersey for people to understand my mission or know what I’m about and what I’m here to do.”
Davis stressed his support of the social justice initiatives theNBA has planned when it returns from a hiatus of more than four months caused By the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ll have a ton of ways to represent what we stand for,” he said.
Davis is averaging team highs of 26.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game for a Lakers team that enters the restart with a 5 1/2-game lead over their crosstown-rival Clippers for the best record in the Western Conference. The teams will face one another in the second game of an opening-night doubleheader when the league resumes play on July 30.