Final Project (Proof of Concept): The NBA’s Impact in Racial Justice Awareness

Background of the NBA and its interactions with Racial Justice

  • Who were some of the prominent figures over these certain years in advocating for racial justice?
  • How big of an impact did individual players and staff have compared to more collaborative efforts done as a league?

What Methods were used in this Project

Over the last decade, the NBA has been a part of many messages, protests, and movements. Given that the NBA player base consists of over 74% of the black race as of 2019. Given this, it made a lot of sense to choose their impacts on the BLM movement.

I will be using two tools learned in the class to help analyze these impacts.

  1. A timeline showing the impacts the NBA has had on racial justice movements
  2. A second timeline displaying the overall impacts of the movement in relation to the NBA timeline
  3. A Voyant outlining the keywords used in phrases of the NBA player’s free speech Jersey campaign.
  4. A second Voyant to represent the more prominent words used in speeches and press conferences.

Timeline of the impact the NBA has had on the BLM movement and society

I chose to prioritize the movements that were initiated by the organization’s players and staff related to BLM. This was done through the aid of finding multiple articles on news and sports sites. (Ie. CBC News, ESPN news, etc…)

Interactive Timeline of the overall impact the BLM movement has had on society

HEAD COACHES26.7%66.7%

Voyant Corpus of social messages related to racial justice

  • 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, Sí 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.
  • A surprising statistic was that among the top 10 players in the league at the time, most of them did not choose to represent a phrase on the jersey. With major league mogul, LeBron James stating “I commend anyone that decides to put something on the back of their jersey. It’s just something that didn’t 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 of things in mind but I wasn’t part of that process and that’s OK.”

The key considerations done when applying the corpus were that I chose to purposefully not prioritize the words that were just translations of a phrase. (Ie. lgualdad (Spanish for “Equality”)).
The actual words were kept in the corpus, with the edit of the English translation of the word also added to retain more consistency of which messages were actually used.

Voyant Corpus of press conferences related to racial justice

Of the 5 press conferences and speeches evaluated and analyzed, it was found that the 4 most prominently used keywords used were People, Black, NBA, lives, and Change.
Some of the corrective measures made in this were that names of people in the transcripts were taken out with the use of Stopwords. (Ie. Joe Biden, Mark Cuban, Paul Pierce, etc…)

Conclusion and future insights


Fagerjord, D. M. B. & A. (n.d.). Digital Humanities: Knowledge and Critique in a digital age.Fagerjord, D. M. B. & A. (n.d.). Digital Humanities: Knowledge and Critique in a digital age.

Groeger, L. V. (2012, March 13). Some thoughts on timelines. ProPublica. timelines#annotations:c8j2eF4CEe2VFTukp_BecA

http:/\/\/author\/ebr-admin\/#author. (2020, July 2). electronic book review. Electronic Book Review › Digital Futures of Literature, Theory, Criticism, and the Arts. (n.d.). Retrieved December 2, 2022, from (n.d.-b). Retrieved December 2, 2022, from

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