LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Nets players wear ‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-shirts in Brooklyn

The Cavaliers stars and Nets players followed Derrick Rose in paying tribute to the late Eric Garner, who was killed by police in nearby Staten Island in July.

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(Via YES Network)

Several players in Monday’s Cavaliers-Nets game in Brooklyn, including LeBron James, wore a T-shirt that paid tribute to the deceased Eric Garner during warmups. The “I Can’t Breathe” shirt refers to the words Garner used as he was choked by a Staten Island police officer last July. That officer was not indicted for his death, a move that’s led to protests across the country.

James was on the fence about wearing the shirt, but elected to do so in the end. He said the goal was to acknowledge the Garner family while sending a larger message.

LeBron James said t-shirts are to acknowledge the family but added: “We have to be better for one another no matter what race you are.”

— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) December 9, 2014

Cavaliers teammate(s) Kyrie Irving was the first to reveal the T-shirt before the game.

Kyrie Irving warming up at Barclays Center in #ICantBreathe t-shirt. pic.twitter.com/PMAuGNhTcw

— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) December 8, 2014

The Cavaliers both said they got the shirt from Jarrett Jack, who plays for the Nets and was on the Cavaliers last season. Jack gave the shirt to teammates, who wore it together as a stance for “equality.” Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Jack and Alan Anderson wore the shirt for Brooklyn.

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(Via YES Network)

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(Via YES Network)

Outside Barclays Center, several fans wearing all black protested the grand jury’s non-indictment by laying down on the ground.

Better angle pic.twitter.com/pt8xFAmoGN

— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) December 9, 2014

Die in at the #royalshutdown #ErciGarner #ICantBreathe protest RIGHT NOW pic.twitter.com/Ypl0p7qCPY

— Luke Rudkowski (@Lukewearechange) December 9, 2014

#Brooklyn #DieIn #Protest #BlackLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter #RipEricGarner #RipMikeBrown #SystemShutDown #NoJusticeNoPeace

A video posted by #ItsAMixxyWorld (@stepinthemix) on Dec 12, 2014 at 4:07pm PST

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, in attendance in Brooklyn, responded quickly to the players’ decision to wear the shirt.

On ‘I Can’t Breathe,’ shirts, Adam Silver tells Yahoo: “I respect Derrick Rose and all of our players for voicing their personal views…”

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 9, 2014

Adam Silver continued: “…on important issues but my preference would be for players to abide by our on-court attire rules.”

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 9, 2014

These players follow Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who wore the same shirt before the team’s game against the Warriors, a move that inspired James to find a copy of the shirt. Rose said he wore the shirt to send a message of hope to young African American children.

Several NFL players also used Garner’s words to pay tribute on Sunday, including Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush, San Diego Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram and St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Davin Joseph.

But James’ decision to wear the shirt takes the message to another level. Not only is James the NBA’s most well-known player, but he chose to do so in Brooklyn, just miles from where Garner’s death happened. He also did it with several noteworthy guests scheduled to attend, including Prince William and Dutchess Kate.

December 9, 2014 by : Posted in Uncategorized No Comments

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