The NBA’s “I Can’t Breathe” campaign is officially bi-coastal. After Derrick Rose started the trend and LeBron James and company continued it, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers kept it going by wearing shirts in support of Eric Garner before Tuesday’s game versus the Sacramento Kings.
The shirts were laid out on chairs in front of the players’ lockers before the game:
Each member of Los Angeles donned the tee during warmups. It is the first full team to make the gesture:
“I can’t breathe!” were the last words of Garner, a 43 year-old Staten Island man who died in July while being detained by police for allegedly selling illegal cigarettes. Officer Daniel Pantaleo placed and held Garner in a chokehold for 19 seconds as other policeman assisted in his arrest. Garner was pronounced dead by hospital officials an hour later.
Last week, a grand jury elected against indicting Pantaleo. Coupled with a similar decision just a few days earlier connected with the death of Michael Brown, another unarmed black man, the grand jury’s choice sparked major protests across the country. Rallying cries of the movement for equality, justice, and change are “I Can’t Breathe!,” “Black Lives Matter,” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”
Commissioner Adam Silver ended his silence on the players’ social commentary yesterday. While he didn’t outright ban wearing of the shirts and said he respected Rose and the rest for “voicing their personal views,” Silver also said that his “preference would be for players to abide by our on-court attire rules.”
What do you think?
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