When the Toronto Raptors return to the court this Saturday for their first regular season game since March, they will do so with a message.
All 17 Raptors players have selected social justice messages to wear in place of their names on the back of their jerseys.
Many of the players will wear “Black Lives Matter,” on their jerseys, though other powerful messages will be displayed as well.
“Our team is doing a fantastic job finding ways to [make] effective change and doing something that’s going to mean something,” said Pascal Siakam, who was one of the players that chose to wear “Black Lives Matter.”
“We are in a time where we need to keep that conversation going, we need to be heard from, we need to speak loud and clear,” said Kyle Lowry, who chose the message “Education Reform.”
The movement doesn’t stop because we’re back.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) July 30, 2020
Canadian Chris Boucher will wear “See Us” on the back of his jersey.
“See us the same way you see yourself,” explained Boucher. “I felt like it was describing everything related to equality, justice, racism.”
“It’s important that (the victims’) names should be in the media, we should be talking about them, their situations, what happened, and just to raise awareness for everyone,” said OG Anunoby, who will wear “Say Their Names” on his back.
Rolling into Orlando on a bus that displayed “Black Lives Matter,” the movement is clearly very important to the Raptors.
Fred VanVleet spoke passionately on the subject back in June, vowing to organize his teammates to use their platform and push for more to be done.
“It’s on our mind every day,” VanVleet said at the time. “We’re really doing work behind the scenes, not just for now, because it’s cool on social media to post ‘Black Lives Matter,’ something that’s going to last for years and years to come and trying to make real change.”
The Raptors will play eight regular season games from August 1-14, before the playoffs begin. Their first game is against LeBron James and the LA Lakers on Saturday at 8:30 pm ET/5:30 pm PT.
Here’s a list of the social justice messages each player chose: