While Alex Caruso takes pride in wearing the popular Los Angeles Lakers name across his chest, it’s the words on the back of his jersey that he wants to talk about.
Caruso, who is white, has chosen to wear “Black Lives Matter” on his jersey in Orlando, Florida, to support the fight for racial equality.
“This is something that Black people can’t do on their own,” Caruso told The Undefeated. “This isn’t something where they can wake up and say, ‘You know what? I’m just grinding, being an activist and talking to so many people and it’s going to get done.’ …
“Being in the NBA has actually taught me how important it is to talk about these things. Being in LA this last year, my life has changed because everyone knows what I am doing. Anytime I saw something or tweeted something, it is not just me and my small group of friends. There are people that are watching. I just think it is important for people to know what is right from wrong. In its simplest form, everyone should be treated equal.”
In the aftermath of the killing of a 46-year-old Black man, George Floyd, while he was in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, NBA players have vowed to keep the fight against racism, social injustice, police brutality and other societal issues going. Among them have been several white players.
“I see it as a small way to stand with all the people across the country fighting for equality,” Milwaukee Bucks forward Kyle Korver told The Undefeated. Korver is also wearing “Black Lives Matter” on his jersey. “These three words say so much about the moment that we are in. It’s about challenging all of us to ask what kind of society we live in and what kind we want to live in. And as a white man, it calls me to recognize my own responsibility in all of this.”
White people make up 76.2% of the population in America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But in the NBA, only 16.9% of the league’s players are white, including many who come from different countries. In 2016, Korver and New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick were among six white Americans who talked about what it was like to be a white person playing in the NBA. Redick, then and now, says it is important for him to support his Black teammates and Black people in general.