The NBA Players Association will partner with Russell Westbrook’s clothing brand Honor the Gift to create social justice shirts.
What We Know:
- The NBA will allow players to wear social justice messages on their jerseys in place of their name. Players who wish to do so must choose from the NBA’s list of approved messages. Many players find the list to be limiting and unsatisfying. Several high profile players like LeBron James and Jimmy Butler decided not to wear messages on their jerseys, instead focusing their social justice efforts on other forms of activism. Because of this, the Players Association is now offering an alternative to the jerseys, creating shirts with a wider selection of messages that were not approved for NBA jerseys.
- The Players Association will partner with Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook and his clothing line Honor the Gift so players will have more choices to broadcast their messages. Westbrook is one of the league’s most adventurous figures when it comes to fashion and he started his brand in 2016. It is unclear under what context these shirts will be worn. In past years, players have used their warm up shirts to address social issues. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the edition as “lifestyle” shirts, so it is unclear if they will be worn at games or shown on camera. In 2014, the Los Angeles Clippers wore their warm-up shirts inside out to protest the racist comments of their former owner Donald Sterling.
Honor the Gift is extremely proud to collaborate with the NBPA to create a collection of shirts that allow us players to shed light on social injustice, and honor the victims and families of those who continue to inspire us. pic.twitter.com/drf2f7NocD
— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) July 20, 2020
- The Honor the Gift shirts will include messages that were not approved by the NBA like “Police Reform,” “Am I Next?,” and names of victims of police brutality. Many players see the NBA’s list as a start, but think it’s clear that the league does not want to ruffle any feathers when it comes to law enforcement. Through these shirts, Westbrook and the Players Association have found a way to keep the focus on police brutality and the unjustified killing of Black people. While it is unclear whether these shirts will be shown on any NBA broadcasts, players can display these messages on their social media.
Westbrook has been an active voice at California protests and is also working on a documentary project about the Tulsa massacre. He will join his team in Orlando on Monday after recovering from a positive coronavirus test.