All game-worn NBA jerseys from the opening weekend of the 2019-20 NBA restart will be placed up for auction with proceeds going to the newly created Players’ Justice Fund, a source told ESPN’s The Undefeated.
Among the four major U.S. sports leagues, the NBA has been at the forefront in trying to enact change on the social justice front. NBA players have been vocal about Black Lives Matter in the Orlando bubble, the league painted “Black Lives Matter” on the courts at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and both the NBA and National Basketball Players Association have agreed to form a $300 million foundation called the Player’s Justice Fund.
The league also allowed players to choose from pre-approved social justice messages to have emblazoned on the back of their jerseys for the NBA restart. Now, it appears those jerseys will go to greater use than just raising awareness.
NBA players were allowed to wear customized jerseys featuring selected social justice messages agreed upon by the league and the National Basketball Players’ Association during the first four days of the resumed season that began July 29. Such messages included “Black Lives Matter,” “I Am A Man,” “Vote” and “How Many More,” as well as messages in languages chosen by international players. The hope from the NBA and NBPA was to make a statement addressing systematic racism and social injustice and bring awareness to other world issues during the current social justice movement.
Around 20 players, including NBA All-Stars LeBron James, Anthony David and Ben Simmons and few others chose not to wear a social justice message on their jerseys. Those jerseys will also be a part of the auction, ESPN has reported.