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NBA and players' union to paint 'Black Lives Matter' on Orlando courts for resumed season


Personalized jerseys may be next

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are planning to paint "Black Lives Matter" inside the sidelines on all three of the courts to be used when the 2019-20 season resumes in Orlando, Fla., next month, ESPN reported Tuesday.

The WNBA is also considering painting the slogan on the court to be used in Bradenton, Fla., before the launch of its upcoming abbreviated season.

Sources also told ESPN that the league and the players' union are discussing other ways in which they can draw attention to issues of racial justice and police brutality, including allowing players to display customized messages on the back of their uniforms instead of their names.

Players may choose to display customized messages such as "Black Lives Matter" or "I Can't Breathe," or perhaps the names of black people who were killed by police in recent months, such as George Floyd or Breonna Taylor.

Players' union president Chris Paul told ESPN's "The Undefeated" Saturday that "people are saying that social justice will be off of everybody's mind in Orlando," but "with these [customized] jerseys, it doesn't go away."

Raising awareness on issues of race has been a major concern for the league and players as they have considered plans for resuming the season, which was postponed earlier this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As talks of resuming the season were being finalized, some players, including players' union vice president Kyrie Irving, came out against the idea. Irving argued that resuming the season would distract from the nationwide protests against systemic racism that erupted following George Floyd's death.

As of now, the plans are for 22 teams to restart the season on July 30 at the Walt Disney World Resort. The teams will play eight regular season "seeding" games before starting the playoffs.

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