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Tyler Herro’s big night brings attention to the message of Black Lives Matter

The Miami Heat rookie on why he chose to put those words above his name


LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – An NBA star may have been born when Miami Heat rookie Tyler Herro scored a career-high 37 points in a Game 4 victory against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. Herro’s hot outside shooting brought the Heat within one win of advancing to the Finals. And while the world got to know his name on the back of his jersey, he also brought attention to the social justice message right above it: Black Lives Matter.

“I chose Black Lives Matter because Black lives matter,” Herro said after the 112-109 win over Boston that gave Miami a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals. “Black Lives Matter means something to me.”

Tyler Herro (left) and Goran Dragic (center) of the Miami Heat react after defeating the Boston Celtics in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals at AdventHealth Arena at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Sept. 23 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When the NBA returned to action on July 30, players were allowed to display social justice messages on the back of their jerseys. Herro, who is white, wanted to honor his African American colleagues.

“My teammates are predominantly Black,” Herro said. “The league is predominantly Black, and there’s obviously a problem going on in the world. I feel like this stage, with this type of platform, putting that on my jersey, everybody seen my last name but they also seen Black Lives Matter on the back, and I think that’s important.”

Other white players have worn Black Lives Matter on their jerseys during the NBA restart, including the Milwaukee Bucks’ Kyle Korver, the Toronto Raptors’ Matt Thomas, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Alex Caruso, the Portland Trail Blazers’ Zach Collins, the Sacramento Kings’ Kyle Guy and the San Antonio Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl.

From the beginning of the restart in Orlando, Florida, NBA players have been vocal in the fight against social injustice, police brutality and systemic racism. They have also brought attention to the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African American woman who died after she was shot multiple times by police officers in Louisville, Kentucky, who barged into her home on March 13. Players spoke to Taylor’s family on a Zoom call in the bubble.

On Sept. 15, Taylor’s family received a $12 million settlement from the city of Louisville. But on Wednesday, a grand jury decided not to move forward with charges against any officers for their roles in the death of Taylor. One officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for firing into a neighbor’s apartment. His bond was set at $15,000.

The news sparked frustration and anger in Louisville and across the nation, including in the NBA bubble. Herro said the news was “unfortunate.”

“I think we have to do better in society and keep trying to push forward,” Herro said. “Black lives do matter.”

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for Andscape. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.