NBA star LeBron James and many players from the Brooklyn Nets wore shirts with the sentence that has become synonymous with Eric Garner protests: “I can’t breathe.” Garner's dying words have echoed across the nation after a New York grand jury failed to indict the white police officer who had the unarmed black man in a chokehold.
James, widely considered the best player in professional basketball, has become an outspoken leader on social issues including the Donald Sterling scandal, the Ferguson unrest and now the Garner protests. He has also addressed financial questions that affect fellow NBA players, like the league's new TV contract and the impact it should have on player salaries.
James' team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, was playing the Nets at Brooklyn's Barclays Center on Monday, with Prince William and Kate Middleton in attendance.
Before the game started, Twitter users who were at the game shared pictures of the players’ shirts during the warm-up.
Many captured shots of “King James.”
— Todd Johnson (@rantoddj) December 9, 2014
— Art of Networking (@networkingman14) December 9, 2014
I am watching the Nets play the Cavs in Brooklyn. LeBron James is wearing a "I Can't Breathe" shirt. You got to admire LeBron.
— Mike Vanriel (@MikeVanriel2) December 9, 2014
With the Royal Couple attending Monday night’s game, some said it was an opportunity for the future monarchs to see the protests for themselves.
Well done to the Cavs with the #ICantBreathe shirts @ Nets while the royals watch & the die-in goes on outside. They need Tamir shirts too.
— Valerie (@valerieinto) December 9, 2014
— James Cooper (@CoopFogg) December 8, 2014
— Smooth Kobra (@smoothkobra) December 9, 2014
Chicago Bulls player Derrick Rose wore a similar shirt in Garner’s memory during Saturday’s warm-up. His choice reverberated around the sports world, including the National Football League. On Sunday, players like Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush, Cleveland Browns special teams ace Johnson Bademosi and St. Louis Rams guard Davin Joseph also wore the “I can’t breathe” message.
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