NBA superstar and MVP, LeBron James during Monday night’s game in Brooklyn wore a T-shirt with the words “I can’t breathe,” showing solidarity with protesters nationwide who are speaking out against the police killing of Eric Garner.
Brooklyn Nets players Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Jarrett Jack and Alan Anderson, as well as one of James’ teammates, Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, also came out wearing the shirt in advance of the game, which was set to be attended by Great Britain’s Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, as well as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
The shirt is the same design worn before Saturday night’s NBA game by Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls. “It was spectacular,” James said about Rose’s shirt. “I loved it. I’m looking for one.”
Eric Garner died on July 17 after a police officer put him in a chokehold and pushed him to the ground in order to arrest him for selling untaxed cigarettes. Garner repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe.” The scene was captured on video by a bystander. A Staten Island grand jury, however, recently decided not to indict the police officer, sparking nationwide protests.
Silver said he respected the fact that Rose and other players wanted to voice their “personal views on important issues” but added that his “preference would be for players to abide by our on-court attire rules.”
Displays of support for Garner were also happening outside Barclays Center on Monday night. Protesters spoke about Garner’s death and the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot by a police officer in August, and a grand jury recently voted not to indict him.
People held up signs — some of them directed at the royal couple — reading “I can’t breathe.” They chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” which has become the rallying cry related to Brown’s death.
Lebron wearing "I can't breathe" T-shirt before tonight's game pic.twitter.com/Q60XoeubQm
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) December 9, 2014
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) December 9, 2014