Five-time NBA All Star Damian Lillard wore rainbow-colored shoes during a recent game against the Boston Celtics to show his allyship with the LGBTQ+ community. The show of support comes in a wave of moves across the league where players have given their platform to various social justice messages.
The rainbow-colored sneakers are an official Pride style from Lillard’s Dame 6 line of shoes from Adidas. The styles are currently available for $180 on the Adidas site. The athlete isn't the only one to have a Pride style though: Dwyane Wade has a similar rainbow-hued shoe in support of his daughter Zaya Wade. Unlike the Dame 6 rainbow shoe, Wade’s WOW Infinity Pride shoe is only available in China.
The Portland fan-favorite Lillard, known for his 3-point shooting and ability to finish strong, is one of several players wearing league-approved social justice messages on their jerseys.
In addition to the shoes, Lillard's jersey sported the words "How Many More" presumably a reference to the ongoing, fatal violence inflicted on Black communities at the hands of police. The jersey messaging is something new for the NBA as it tries to relaunch a pandemic-shortened season. The league has approved 26 social justice messages that players can wear. Among them are “Justice,” “Freedom,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “Say Her Name.” According to SI, the league made the changes after players like Brooklyn Nets’ star Kyrie Irving and Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley told league officials in a June conference call that the league needed to do more to combat systemic racism.
Lillard in the past was subjected to homophobic slurs following a game in Minneapolis in 2017. The deeply religious and devout Christian Lillard, who has a tattoo of Bible verses, was walking to the team bus following a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves when two fans yelled the slurs at him. One of the men apologized to Lillard at the scene.
"I don't bother nobody," Lillard told ESPN at the time. "They were straight disrespectful."