clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Danny Green and Devontae Cacok reveal why their back-of-jersey social justice messages are important to them

New, comments

The Lakers feel like the NBA restart can help raise awareness of the societal issues in the United States.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

When Danny Green was trying to decide on what social justice message he would put on the back of his Lakers jersey when the team resumed the season at Disney World, his dad had an idea: Put it to fans, and see what message is most important to them.

As Green revealed on the most recent episode of his podcast, that’s exactly what he did, picking his four favorite options out of the 29 messages that had been pre-approved by the league and National Basketball Players Association for players to display during the first four days of the season restart. He then put out a Twitter poll, asking fans whether they liked “Freedom,” “Respect Us,” “How Many More,” or “I Am A Man” best. “How Many More” won, with an overwhelming 44.2% of the vote.

“Obviously all those messages mean a lot to me, they all speak out about what’s going on in the world today that’s important,” Green said, adding that “How Many More” stands for more than one thing when I asked him on a recent Zoom call why that message specifically was meaningful to him.

“Basketball, sports and our everyday lives are important, but the bigger picture for us is getting the justice that is deserved for those in our community and around the world,” Green said. “‘How Many More,’ obviously our fans picked it, but I would say it’s one of the ones that I chose because it speaks to ‘how many more people of color are going to get killed or die at the hands of police brutality? How many more families are going to get denied housing? How many more black men and women are going to get denied job opportunities?’”

LA Clippers v Los Angeles Lakers
The back of Danny Green’s jersey will look different when the NBA returns.
Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

In addition to the other options he polled, Green added on his podcast that “Say Her Name,” a reference to Breonna Taylor — a 26-year-old woman who was shot in her sleep by police during a no-knock raid on her apartment — was also a message that resonated with him. The feeling of having a hard time picking between multiple choices is one Green’s teammate, two-way contract player Devontae Cacok, can relate to. He told Silver Screen and Roll that he had chosen “Justice Now” as his back-of-jersey message, but it wasn’t an easy call.

“To be honest it was between that and ‘How Many More,’ and if I could, I would have picked both,” Cacok said in a text message. “But I chose justice now because I feel like there is so much that hasn’t been done for so many people. There hasn’t been justice for a lot of people and it’s sad and wrong.”

Green and Cacok aren’t the only Lakers who will advocate for social justice on the backs of their jerseys. JaVale McGee (“Respect Us”) will also wear a message, while most of the remainder of the team — aside from LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who have said they’re sticking with their names for various reasons — have not announced their personal choices yet.

But no matter how players choose to demonstrate, Green said that he felt the movement going on in Orlando will help the NBA season resumption serve an important secondary function aside from just the return of basketball.

“It keeps the world on notice that we’re not in any way, shape, or form distracted of what the bigger picture is,” Green said. “Obviously we want to play and win, but at the same time we want to continue to try and push for our people.”

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.