Miami Heat small forward Jimmy Butler wants no name on the back of his jersey for the NBA season restart as he wants to underline that if he weren't an NBA player, he would be "no different than anybody else of color."
The NBA has allowed players to replace their names on the back of their jerseys with a social justice message and several players intend to do so. The NBA's official list of approved social justice messages is as follows: Black Lives Matter, Say Their Names, Vote, I Can't Breathe, Justice, Peace, Equality, Freedom, Enough, Power to the People, Justice Now, Say Her Name, Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can), Liberation, See Us, Hear Us, Respect Us, Love Us, Listen, Listen to Us, Stand Up, Ally, Anti-Racist, I Am A Man, Speak Up, How Many More, Group Economics, Education Reform and Mentor.
"I have decided not to," Butler said during a Tuesday video call with reporters, as quoted on ESPN. "With that being said, I hope that my last name doesn't go on there as well. Just because I love and respect all the messages that the league did choose, but for me, I felt like with no message, with no name, it's going back to, like, who I was.
And if I wasn't who I was today, I'm no different than anybody else of color and 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, and that's how I feel about my people of color."
Butler insists the Heat are a motivated young group
The Heat will be one of the 22 teams that will participate in the NBA season restart in Orlando and they have already qualified for the Playoffs since they sit on the fourth place of the Eastern Conference standings with a 41-24 record.
The Heat aren't a team stucked with superstars but they have a great chemistry and that has resulted in them being one of best teams in the East this year. "It's going to be tough," Butler said of the mental edge needed to win a championship under these circumstances.
"I'm not going to lie to you, but I think the best thing about it is everybody has to have that same mental edge. Everybody's at the same mental disadvantage, and I think we handle this well. People say that we have a group full of underdogs.
Say what you will, but we got a group full of really good pros that love to hoop, love to compete, and we're going to go out there and give it our all. "Home, away or neutral here at Disney, I think you can count on the Miami Heat bringing it."