Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler warmed up in a nameless jersey but changed into a one bearing his customary last name prior to Saturday's game against the Denver Nuggets.
Game officials whistled Butler moments prior to tip-off of the Heat-Nuggets game at the NBA's bubble campus in Orlando, Florida. The former Bulls, Wolves and Sixers standout quietly swapped his tops by the Heat bench, and returned to the hardwood for the start of the game.
The NBA approved around 30 messages of social justice that players could wear on their jerseys rather than their last names. Butler had said he approves of all the messages, including Black Lives Matter, but going nameless was "going back to who I was."
"If I wasn't who I was today, I'm no different than anybody else of color," the 30-year-old Butler said last month, "and I want that to be my message. In the sense that just because I'm an NBA player -- everybody has the same rights, no matter what.
"I'm with, like I said, Black Lives matter and the phrases they chose to put on the back of the jerseys. But for me, it's a lot more about action, and continuing to learn and teach the people around me, and doing what I can in my community."
Butler, a five-time All-Star, lobbied the league to wear a nameless jersey, and reportedly inspired dozens of other players to make similar requests, but apparently to no avail. Butler suggested as recently as last week that it was still under consideration, ESPN reported.