In massive, bold yellow letters, the slogan "Black Lives Matter" has been painted on streets across the United States. It started in Washington, D.C. when Mayor Muriel Bowser granted permission for the mural to be done just two blocks north of the White House. The NBA will reportedly follow suit when the 2019-20 season resumes late next month.
ESPN reports the NBA is planning on painting "Black Lives Matter" on the inside of both sidelines on every court used at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
This is the latest step in the league's ongoing efforts to utilize its platform to call attention to racial equality, social justice, and police brutality. Over the weekend, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the NBA and NBPA are considering allowing players to replace the last name on the back of their jersey with a statement that addresses social justice issues.
Earlier this month, NBPA Vice President Kyrie Irving expressed uncertainty about moving forward with a season restart, arguing that the league’s return could overshadow the country-wide fight for social reform. Irving's opposition hasn’t halted the league's plan, but it successfully started an open yet honest dialogue from both sides of the argument.
It also spearheaded a movement from a players coalition led by Irving and Avery Bradley that hopes to pressure the NBA to do more to hire Black front office members and head coaches, as well as create partnerships with Black-owned businesses. "We don’t need to say more. We need to find a way to achieve more," Bradley said, per ESPN. "Protesting during an anthem, wearing T-shirts is great, but we need to see real actions being put in to the works."
While painting "Black Lives Matter" on the court and allowing players to sport a social justice statement on their jerseys is a step in the right direction, the NBA's most important moves will be what they do from within to support a more diverse future.