Former Kentucky stars Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo will be using their platforms to fight for social justice when the NBA returns to play later this month.
Herro and Adebayo, two of the Miami Heat’s brightest young stars, will be wearing “Black Lives Matter” on the back of their jerseys as part of the NBA’s push back against systemic racism.
The former told NBA reporters today he has a voice and wants to use it to promote a cause he has publicly stood behind since protests began several months back. As for the latter, he is not currently with the team in Orlando – there is speculation Adebayo is one of three Heat players to test positive for COVID-19 and will be joining the team at a later date – but he has also been outspoken about his overwhelming support of the movement.
“I‘m just standing behind the Black Lives Matter movement,” Herro told NBA reporters on Wednesday. “I stand behind it and support it. And I feel I have a voice and a platform to be able to push it and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
“We should, and I will, always, always tell people that Black Lives Matter,” Adebayo said in a statement released by the Heat back in June. “Because they do.”
In fact, Adebayo was previously on the fence of playing in the NBA’s restart in Orlando amid the social unrest.
“I’m the dude that’s on the fence,” the Heat center said back in June. “I understand that we want to be in the middle of protests with our bodies and we want people to know that we’re there supporting Black Lives Matter, which I’m 100% about. And I’m 100% about going to the bubble and doing it on national television where everybody sees it.”
The pair of former Wildcats are just two of 16 players sporting social justice messages on the back of their jerseys, with All-Star guard Jimmy Butler being the lone player opting against a specific phrase.
Instead, he is attempting to wear a blank name plate to stress he is “no different than anybody else of color.”
“I want that to be my message in the sense that just because I’m an NBA player, everybody has the same right no matter what,” Butler said in a statement. “… I’m with Black Lives Matter and all the phrases that they chose to put on the back of the jersey. But for me, it’s a lot more about action and continuing to learn and teach the people around me and doing what I can in my community.”
Here is the list of Heat players and the phrases they will be sporting on the back of their jerseys:
— x – Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) July 14, 2020
NBA players are allowed to select words and phrases from the following list curated by the NBA and NBPA:
- Black Lives Matter
- Say Their Names
- I Can’t Breathe
- Power to the People
- Justice Now
- Say Her Name
- Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can)
- See Us
- Hear Us
- Respect Us
- Love Us
- Listen to Us
- Stand Up
- I Am A Man
- Speak Up
- How Many More
- Group Economics
- Education Reform