SALT LAKE CITY — Last week, before answering any questions, Donovan Mitchell had a message: "We need justice for Breonna Taylor. I think we all understand that she was killed in her own home. If there's a point where we can't feel safe in our home, that's not right."
Mitchell will keep that message going throughout the restart by putting "Say Her Name" on the back of his jersey in honor of Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot by police in March in her home in Louisville, Kentucky, after officers executed a "no-knock" warrant.
"Seeing that happen to an African-American female is near and dear to my heart," said Mitchell, who went to college at Louisville.
The NBA approved a list of 29 messages that players could put on their jersey if they so choose. Each member of the Jazz will wear a message when the NBA restarts on July 30, with Utah taking on the New Orleans Pelicans.
- Tony Bradley — Peace
- Jarrell Brantley — Enough
- Jordan Clarkson — Peace
- Mike Conley — I Am A Man
- Ed Davis — Education Reform
- Rudy Gobert — Equality
- Joe Ingles — Ally
- Donovan Mitchell — Say Her Name
- Juwan Morgan — Say Their Names
- Emmanuel Mudiay — Peace
- Georges Niang — Education Reform
- Royce O’Neale — Equality
- Miye Oni — Power To The People
- Rayjon Tucker — Justice
- Nigel Williams-Goss — Justice Now
- Justin Wright-Foreman — Justice
There are different reasons for the players to have chosen their specific messages.
Conley is wearing "I Am A Man" — the rallying cry of the 1968 Memphis sanitation worker strike that led to the assassination fo Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — because of his strong connection with Memphis.
"It’s something we thought was powerful, especially because that came from Memphis," Conley said. "... It means a lot to put that on the back of my jersey and be able to represent everyone behind me.”
Gobert said that he is wearing “Equality” because that’s still something that the world is striving for.
"I think equality is a powerful word," Gobert said. "I want my kids to live in a world where everyone is treated as equal, regardless of the color of their skin, their religion. I think it’s something we have to strive to attain in society. Obviously, it’s better than it was 100 years ago but it can be a lot better. We’d be lying to ourselves if we said there was equality today. We have signs every day that that’s not the case. We have to keep pushing in that direction to make sure that one day it is the case."
Clarkson said he chose "Peace," because, in the end, that’s what everyone wants.
"Everybody is fighting for a peace of a mind, especially with the Black Lives Matter (movement)," Clarkson said. "This fight that Black Lives Matter, at the end of the day, is going to cause peace for us all; being able to feel that equality in all areas and aspects of our lives."