Dzanan Musa will wear “Equality and Peace” as the message across the back of his Brooklyn Nets jersey upon the NBA’s restart, using the platform the league is allowing players to make a statement about the racial injustice in the country he has only called home for a little while.
Musa, who is Bosnian and didn’t know much about the United States when he came here after being drafted by the Nets, said on a Nets Zoom call Monday night that his message was sparked by his girlfriend’s reaction to seeing the video of George Floyd’s death.
“My girlfriend called me and she was crying because of that,” Musa said. “She was very emotional about it. She was telling me, ‘Did you see what happened?’ I did not, because I was in practice. I’m not too much on social media; the last three or four months I’ve been trying to stay out of it. But when I saw it, it was horrifying.”
Musa is not an American by birth, but didn’t need to be to understand the gravity of what has been happening in the country over the last few months.
“Of course, it’s just terrible from my perspective. First of all, I’m not from America and to see that brutality happen it hurts my heart a lot,” he said. “I’m with Black Lives Matter all day. I’m going to change my jersey in Orlando to be Equality and Peace.”
Musa hopes to be a big factor for the Nets when the NBA season resumes, as the team is without Kyrie Irving, Wilson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan, and now Spencer Dinwiddie as a result of injury or COVID-19 concerns, and he has a leg up from being one of the Nets who stayed in Brooklyn when the NBA shut down.
“I decided to stay in Brooklyn and try to get better as much as possible,” Musa said. “I tried to gain weight, trying to get stronger at home, and then when the practice facility opened, I was first in the gym trying to get Jacque’s attention to get him to know I’m ready for whatever.”
It would be a big step for Musa, who averaged just 4.2 points per game in 35 contests earlier this year, and didn’t play a single minute after the All-Star Break.
“In the bad games, I was thinking too much. I was trying to impress everybody. I was trying to do too many things,” Musa said. “I matured a lot from that point, from let’s say February to now, just to realize what’s my role on the team: to give the energy, to make the right plays and just to help my team win, not thinking about individual stats too much.”