NBA star LeBron James opts out of wearing social justice message on Lakers jersey

Lebron James is one of 17 NBA players out of 285 so far who have opted to continue using their family names on the back of their uniforms. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 12 July 2020

NBA star LeBron James opts out of wearing social justice message on Lakers jersey

  • ‘It is just something that didn’t seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal’
  • But Lakers star still working behind the scenes to improve the lives of others

LOS ANGELES: NBA superstar LeBron James said Saturday he would opt out of wearing a social justice message on the back of his jersey because it doesn’t “resonate with his mission.”
James, who has often spoken out against racism and police brutality in America, is passing on the NBA’s plan to help bring attention to racial inequality by having players wear messages like “I Can’t Breathe” instead of their family names.
“I didn’t go with a name on the back of my jersey,” the Los Angeles Lakers forward James said Saturday. “It was no disrespect to the list that was handed down to all the players.”
“I commend anyone that decides to put something on the back of their jersey. It is just something that didn’t seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal.”
James says he wishes he had had some input into the jersey change.
“I would have loved to have a say on what would have went on the back of the jersey. I had a couple of things in mind, but I wasn’t part of that process which is OK.”
“I don’t need to have something on the back of the jersey for people to understand my mission and what I’m about and what I am here to do.”
The vast majority of NBA players have decided to pick a social justice message when play resumes in Orlando, Florida.
James is one of just about 17 players out of 285 so far who have opted to continue using their family names on the back of their uniforms.
The list of suggested messages, agreed on by the players union and NBA owners and then made available to players, includes “I Can’t Breathe,” which is what George Floyd said more than 20 times before he died with a white police officer kneeling on his neck.
Other messages include: Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; 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.
James said even though he isn’t taking part in the jersey messages, he is still working behind the scenes to improve the lives of others, especially people in the Black community.
“Being able to use my platform, use the NBA’s platform, to continue to talk about what’s going on. Because I will not stop until I see real change for us in Black America, for African Americans, for people of color. And I also believe I can do both, though.”
James said he always expected to play in the restart to the season: “I am here for one goal and one goal only and that is to win a championship.”


Uncapped Robinson in England squad for second Pakistan Test

Updated 12 August 2020

Uncapped Robinson in England squad for second Pakistan Test

  • Robinson has been one of the most impressive bowlers in English domestic cricket in recent years
  • Star all-rounder Ben Stokes will also miss the third Test

SOUTHAMPTON, United Kingdom: Uncapped Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson was included on Wednesday in England’s 14-man squad for the second Test against Pakistan.
The 26-year-old trained with the squad during the West Indies series and took eight Hampshire wickets during his subsequent appearance in the Bob Willis Trophy — the first-class competition that is replacing the County Championship in a season cut short by the coronavirus.
But whether he makes a Test debut at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl ground on Thursday could depend on how the England attack that played in a three-wicket win in the first of a three-match series recovers from their exertions at Old Trafford last week.
Star all-rounder Ben Stokes has already been ruled out after playing in Manchester as he gets ready to return to New Zealand for family reasons.
Stokes will also miss the third Test and former England captain Michael Vaughan said his absence “will have a big effect on the England team’s psychology.”
Vaughan also told William Hill: “He (Stokes) plays a big, big role in that dressing room.
“Even though he’s not had a massive impact in terms of the ball or the bat in the last couple of games, he has a big impact with his persona in that dressing room.”
Vaughan, however, added: “Even though Ben Stokes is out I think England will be too strong.”
Robinson has been one of the most impressive bowlers in English domestic cricket in recent years, taking 137 wickets in total across the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
He also performed well in Australia during the second-string England Lions tour in the northern hemisphere winter and took two wickets in the intra-squad match between Team Stokes and Team (Jos) Buttler in Southampton at the start of last month.
Both Chris Woakes, the man of the match last week, and Stuart Broad are in fine form.
But the pair have played in three Tests in under four weeks, England will want to assess their fitness as well as that of fellow paceman Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Sam Curran before deciding on their final XI

ENGLAND SQUAD
Joe Root (Yorkshire, capt), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Dom Bess (Somerset), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire, wkt), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham)