July 12 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis are keeping their last names on the back of their jerseys for the NBA's 22-team restart in Orlando, Fla., opting against using a social justice message.
During a video conference call Sunday, Davis admitted he was "torn" between using his last name or one of the messages provided by the league and the players' union. The NBA is allowing players to have a social justice message or phrase on the back of their jerseys when it resumes play this month.
"I think the name 'Davis' is something that I try to represent every time I try to step on the floor: my family," Davis told reporters Sunday. "I didn't know what to decide. Should I have a social justice message or should I have my last name there? I just think my last name is something that is very important to me.
"Also social justice as well. But just holding my family name and representing the name on the back to go through this process and my name and people who've been with me through my entire career to help me get to this point. While still kind of bringing up things that we can do for social injustice."
James revealed over the weekend that he would do the same. The three-time NBA champion said the 29 approved messages -- decided upon jointly by the NBA and the NBA Players Association -- were "something that didn't really seriously resonate with my mission."
"I actually didn't go with a name on the back of my jersey," James said Saturday. "It was no disrespect to the list that was handed out to all the players. I commend anyone that decides to put something on the back of their jersey. It's just something that didn't really seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal.
"I would have loved to have a say-so on what would have went on the back of my jersey. I had a couple things in mind, but I wasn't part of that process, which is OK. I'm absolutely OK with that. ... I don't need to have something on the back of my jersey for people to understand my mission or know what I'm about and what I'm here to do."
As of Wednesday, 285 of the expected 350 eligible NBA players selected a social justice message to display on their jerseys. According to ESPN's The Undefeated, 17 players opted to continue to use their last names instead.
The list of the suggested messages are: 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; Si 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.
"Some guys chose to, some guys chose not," Davis said. "We'll have a ton of ways to kind of represent what we stand for."
James and Davis guided the Lakers (49-14) to the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference before the NBA suspended play in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic.