NBA's top earners from endorsements raise awareness for social justice initiatives as season restarts

These are the players who raised awareness for social justice initiatives

The NBA reopened at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida, on Thursday, and as games tipped off most players chose to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality.

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Several of the league’s top earners were among those who joined in the kneeling protests.

The players below are among those who make the most money from endorsements in the league. While Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry have seen a ton of green over the course of their NBA careers, they were not a part of the restarted season because of injuries or they weren't among the 22 winningest teams so far, which were chosen to return to the bubble in Central Florida.

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Who are the top-earning players who knelt during the anthem? Take a look at the list below.

DAMIAN LILLARD: Lillard returned to the floor with his Portland Trail Blazers teammates and knelt during the national anthem. He was among the NBA players who protested the police-involved death of George Floyd. He chose to wear “How Many More” on the back of his jersey. Lillard knelt Friday before his game against the Memphis Grizzlies. The point guard’s endorsements include Adidas, Hulu and Panini.

Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard, second from right, the kneels with teammates and coaches during the national anthem before an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Friday, July 31, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Po

JAMES HARDEN: Harden is among the best players in the NBA. He was back with the Houston Rockets last week. Harden locked arms with his teammates and knelt during the national anthem. He did not choose to wear a message on the back of his jersey. Some of his endorsements include Bodyarmor, Adidas and State Farm.

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RUSSELL WESTBROOK: Westbrook is a teammate of Harden’s and he knelt side by side before their game against the Dallas Mavericks. He chose to wear the phrase “Black Lives Matter” on the back of his jersey. Some of Westbrook’s endorsements include Nike, PepsiCo and True Religion.

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GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: The Milwaukee Bucks star is a perennial MVP candidate and could lead the team to the NBA Finals during the restarted season. He knelt and locked arms with his teammates during the national anthem. He wore the term “Equality” on the back of his jersey. His endorsements include Nike, Hulu and 2K Sports.

Players kneel and wear Black Lives Matter shirts before the start of an NBA basketball game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics Friday, July 31, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

LEBRON JAMES: James is one of the top earners in all of sports. He was among the first group of players to kneel during the national anthem thought he didn’t wear a social justice message on his jersey for the restarted season. His endorsements include Nike, Coca-Cola and Beats Electronics.

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