The NBA is planning to paint the phrase “Black Lives Matters” on the three basketball courts that will host games when the league resumes play at Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida, on July 30, according to a report.
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The slogan will appear inside both sidelines, ESPN reported, citing league sources familiar with the matter. The WNBA is said to be considering a similar gesture when it begins its 2020 season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
NBA officials have sought to reassure players of the league’s commitment to social justice issues ahead of the season restart. Multiple NBA players have expressed concern about resuming play during a period of nationwide protests against racial inequality out of fear that the season would be a distraction.
NBA players had until June 24 to “opt out” of the restart plan without risk of fines or other disciplinary action.
Last Saturday, the NBA released a 60-second public service announcement with the title “The Truth is #BlackLivesMatter.” The commercial included footage of NBA players participating in protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Aside from the planned on-court tribute, the NBA and the NBA Players Association are working on a plan that would allow players to wear personalized social justice messages on their jerseys, Oklahoma City Thunder star Chris Paul told ESPN.
The NBA suspended play in mid-March when the worsening coronavirus pandemic made games a public health risk. The league is set to restart its season in a “bubble” at Walt Disney World resort with a 22-team format.