LeBron James suited up for pregame warm-ups at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center wearing an “I Can’t Breathe” tee shirt Monday night. James joins a handful of other athletes who have staged similar protests by wearing Eric Garner’s final words as he was being choked to death by a New York City police officer this summer. Last week, a grand jury decided not to charge the officer with the death of Garner, who was unarmed at the time, sparking protests across the country. Cavs teammate Kyrie Irving also joined in.
Here’s what James had to say before the game about the decision to wear the shirt via ESPN:
“It’s not a Cavs thing,” James said before the game. “It’s a worldly thing.”
“It’s just for us to make a (statement) to understand what we’re going through as a society,” James said when asked about the T-shirt. “I’ve been quoted over and over about what’s going on as far as it’s more of a notion to the family, more than anything. Obviously, as a society we have to do better. We have to be better for one another. It doesn’t matter what race you are. It’s more of a shout out to the family more than anything, because they’re the ones that should be getting all the energy and effort.”
James is the highest-profile athlete to show solidarity with the protests over police brutality in the wake of the Staten Island grand jury decision. The lights are already bright whenever James plays in New York City. and on Monday even more attention was already focused at the game because the Royal couple—Prince William and Kate Middleton—are in attendance.
*This post has been updated.