When the NBA restarts its season on July 30, players will have the option to display a social justice message on the back of their jerseys in place of their surname. While a handful of players from the Los Angeles Lakers have already said they don’t plan on altering their jerseys — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope being the most recent one — there are a few that will, including Alex Caruso.
During an appearance on Yahoo Sports’ “Dunk Bait” on Tuesday, Caruso revealed that he’ll wear “Black Lives Matter” on the back of his jersey. Caruso explained why he chose “Black Lives Matter” as his message during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.
“They gave us the list of phrases, names, sayings to put on the back of the jerseys, so I took some time and kind of looked at them,” Caruso said. “I went through the ones that I thought would be important to me and ones that would be impactful for me to wear, and I thought about the people that look up to me: the people that watch me play, and the people that tell me on Instagram and Twitter, and when I see them in random spots in L.A. and back home, that they look up to me and that I’m an inspiration for them because of how I got to where I am and how hard I play and the way I play.
“A lot of things just went into it, and ‘Black Lives Matter’ just seemed to be the thing that just struck a chord with me and I thought would be the most impactful.”
Anyone that follows Caruso on Twitter knows that he’s an ally of the Black Lives Matter movement because of how outspoken he’s been in recent months. However, Caruso has regrets about not speaking out against racial injustice sooner.
“We all get caught up in our own world and our own lives and we forget the every day person and what’s going on out in the world,” Caruso said. “I think this quarantine period has been a good amount of time for me to kind of reflect and do some thinking and kind of get down to the bottom of who I am as a person and what I’m trying to be about, and this is a good way of showing it.”
Danny Green, JaVale McGee and Devontae Cacok will join Caruso in wearing a social justice message on the back of their jerseys. The act itself may not lead to immediate change, but Caruso has thousands of young fans that he can encourage to get more educated — or, in Caruso’s case, more involved. It’s never too late to listen.
The Lakers will play their first game of the season on July 30 against the LA Clippers.