Portland Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers and Grizzlies kneel in solidarity of social justice pregame

Portland Trail Blazers

On Thursday, the NBA officially tipped off its resumption of the 2019-20 season. Every player who took the court in the NBA’s restart also took a knee during the National Anthem, while wearing "Black Lives Matter" shirts during warm-ups.

The Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies did the same before their first seeding game tipped off Friday.

Moments before the start, players and both teams’ coaching staffs locked arms and kneeled on the sideline in solidarity.  

The NBA as a league has continued to use its platform in the restart to not detract from the social injustice movements but instead continue the conversation.

During his pregame interview with the media on Friday, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts gave his thoughts on how he feels the NBA has done to continue to bring awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement. 

I was impressed. I’m glad that we’re using our platform. I think that’s one of the things we talked about as a league and also as coaches certainly to continue the discussion, continue the public awareness of Black Lives Matter, and the way that we can improve social injustice… I thought it was very well done and I thought it was very respectful and I thought it was very meaningful. -- Blazers head coach Terry Stotts

[RELATED]: Trail Blazers look to continue to advance discussions on social injustice in Orlando

A majority of players have also decided to place social justice messages on the back of jerseys rather than their last names. 

 

Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard has chosen the statement of “How Many More?” to be worn on the back of his jersey.

The personalized statements on NBA uniforms are part of the NBA’s efforts to deliver social justice messages. The players had a total of 29 different messages they could choose from, such as "Black Lives Matter" or "I Can't Breathe." The statements are designed to support either a social or charitable cause.

The reported list of approved social messages includes:

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.

Lillard, who attended a Black Live Matter march in Portland last month, believes the NBA has a real opportunity to use its platform to make statements and continue to support the Black community when play resumes.   

Obviously there will be a lot of eyes on us in Orlando. So I do agree with the fact that it’s an opportunity for us to make statements with the amount of people that’s going to be watching -- whether that’s together, before games, during games, after games, TV commercials, whatever that might be, I do see some opportunities in that.  -- Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard

Lillard's backcourt mate CJ McCollum chose ‘Education Reform’ to wear on the back of his jersey, while Jusuf Nurkic chose ‘Equality’ and rookie Nassir Little chose ‘Black Lives Matter.’

Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon].