Washington Wizards Demand Justice, Accountability and Equality in Team Photo

Illustration for article titled Washington Wizards Demand Justice, Accountability and Equality in Team Photo
Photo: Ned Dishman/NBAE (Getty Images)

In every American household, Black, white, or otherwise, picture day is kind of a big deal.


It’s the perfect opportunity to not only drown your scalp in pink lotion and stunt in those Easter clothes that won’t fit this time next year, but to commemorate your accomplishments and perhaps make a statement about the values you hold dear.

So with the Washington Wizards set to take another team photo as their season draws to a close, instead of donning boring-ass jerseys, the team made the collective decision to rock t-shirts instead. But not just any old t-shirts.

According to The Undefeated, they wore black shirts that are inspired by the unprecedented times we live in and the social justice movements that have helped define them. Each shirt read either “Equality,” “Justice,” or “Accountability” and a second version of their team photo includes the medical personnel who’ve tested players and team staff for COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.

“The significance of this year is bigger than basketball,” nine-time All-Star Russell Westbrook told The Undefeated.” “This year overall has been difficult for everyone. I think it is amazing as a team we’re doing something a little different. These shirts have some substantial meaning behind it. I’m grateful to be part of the first team to do something like that since I’ve been in the league. I’m excited about it.”

For those wondering how the idea to wear t-shirts instead of jerseys even came about, it was Wizards execs who pitched the concept to stars Westbrook and Bradley Beal. The two then selected the messaging for the shirts before bringing their teammates on board to help execute their vision.


“It is definitely a statement piece for us,” Beal said. “Obviously, we are a team and we do everything together. But we are still citizens of this country and this world. This is us just kind of choosing a few words that we live by, and hold ourselves to as men and as teammates. Hopefully, the rest of the world can follow suit and do the same as we try to make it a better place.”

General manager Tommy Sheppard is proud of the statement that the Wizards made as well.


“Today was a continuation of our commitment to social justice of raising awareness to social justice,” he said. “Our players are committed and our organization is committed to continue to be allies to continue to stand up for the oppressed.”

If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, the Wizards had plenty to say in their team photo.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.



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