Add LeBron James to that list. He told reporters Saturday as the Lakers headed into their first practice he was going to go with his last name — “James” — on the back of his jersey. Just as it would be for a typical game.
LeBron won’t put a slogan on the back of his jersey. The list provided didn’t resonate with him. He wanted to have a say in what went on his jersey, but says it’s ok that he wasn’t consulted. “I respect everybody that decided to put something on the back of their jersey.”
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) July 11, 2020
“[The choices] didn’t seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal.”
LeBron James didn’t like not being consulted on the jersey list, and he is not alone. Some players felt the list was a little too “corporate approved” and wanted to go with the names of victims or other things that did not get the NBA’s stamp of approval.
Of course the NBA — a multi-billion dollar international business — is going to put together a list that doesn’t step over the line with parts of its core audience. The list may bother some outside the core demographic, or people just trying to score cheap political points, but it’s a safe play with the heart of the NBA’s audience. Maybe a little too safe for some.
LeBron looked at the NBA’s game and decided the only winning move is not to play. He’s got other games he needs to focus on more.