Former NBA player Stephen Jackson said on the TODAY Show on Thursday morning that when he saw a text message from a friend showing the video of George Floyd’s death, he thought it was “just another video that she sent me of another black man getting murdered by the police.” Jackson didn’t realize until moments later that it was actually his best friend,, a man who “genuinely supported” Jackson throughout their lives since growing up together in Houston.
“I’m the type of guy that will get a face full of tears if I saw a homeless man on the street that I can’t help, let alone my best friend on TV for the world to see getting killed over fake $20 bills, I haven’t been the same since I’ve seen it,” Jackson told TODAY host Craig Melvin.
“I haven’t been the same since I’ve seen it.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 28, 2020
It was Jackson’s latest comments on Floyd’s death, as the retired guard/forward has shared his pain on social media in the days since a video emerged depicting a police officer putting their knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he expressed that he could not breathe. Jackson isn’t the only NBA player who has spoken out in recent days —LeBron James simply posted “STILL!!!!” on Instagram beneath a photo of himself from 2014, when he and other NBA players protested the death of Eric Garner at the hands of the police by wearing shirts that quoted Garner in the last moments of his life: “I Can’t Breathe.”
Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said in an interview with Yahoo Sports that “I don’t think it’s just law enforcement that we need to worry about. That’s one part of it. They’re in a position of power. But I just think in general, for our whole community, we have to have a better understanding of others’ needs, their concerns, their culture. We need to do a better job.”
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr took to Twitter to call Floyd’s death “murder.”
This is murder. Disgusting. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with US???? https://t.co/wesEwd4Bb2
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) May 26, 2020
The Warriors’ star player, Steph Curry, struck a similar tone in an Instagram post showing Floyd lying beneath the weight of the officer. Wrote Curry: “George pleaded for help and was just straight up ignored, which speaks loud and clear that his black life didn’t matter.”
Former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade called for unification in this time.
JUSTICE WILL NOT BE SERVED UNTIL THOSE UNAFFECTED ARE AS OUTRAGED AS THOSE WHO ARE‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) May 27, 2020
Yet the personal note of Jackson, who said he could hear Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter crying in the background of a phone call with her mother this week, and nearly broke his hand punching a wall at his home in fury when he found out what had happened to his “twin,” showed the direct impact this tragedy had on the NBA community.
“What’s killing me the most about this whole thing is being a professional athlete, so many people abuse your friendship and your kindness, and he was one of those guys that genuinely supported me and didn’t call unless he really needed it,” Jackson said on TODAY. “You don’t have many people that genuinely support you without any motives, and Floyd was that guy.”