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Why Russell Westbrook’s new clothing line is a voice for NBA players

Russell Westbrook is striving to use his platform for change.

The Rockets guard announced that he will be teaming up with the NBAPA to create a new social justice clothing line.

Honor the Gift will emblazon new shirts with social justice messages that were not approved for the back of jerseys during the NBA’s return to Orlando.

Of the 350 anticipated NBA players, 285 of them have decided to put a social justice message offered by the league. According to Westbrook, the social justice messages offered by his clothing line will “honor the victims and families of those who continue to inspire us.”

LeBron James notably said last week that he will not replace the last name on his jersey because the messages “didn’t 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,” James said, per ESPN. “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.”

His teammate Anthony Davis provided a similar statement, saying “I think the name ‘Davis’ is something I try to represent every time I step on the floor with my family. I was torn between the two,” he said, via Mark Medina of USA Today. “My last name is very important to me.”

Westbrook’s clothing line is important because it gives himself and his fellow players a voice in a league largely dictated by officials.

Several players are taking the action of using the provided names on their jerseys, but Westbrook’s clothing line will extend the message beyond the basketball court.

NBA athletes have an enormous platform, especially with their extreme popularity and with the league returning at the end of the month. So it is necessary that these athletes are focused beyond the game not only with social justice topics but with inspirational and self-owned themes as well.

After testing positive for COVID-19, Westbrook will be rejoining his team in Orlando this week. He tested negative twice and will have to self-quarantine in a hotel room before rejoining the Rockets on the practice court.

We look forward to seeing how Westbrook’s clothing line will resonate among the basketball community, and how the Rockets will fare in the coming weeks.