LeBron James demands justice for Breonna Taylor, wears sneakers with her name for NBA bubble game
The 35-year-old NBA star said, 'I want her family to know, and I want the state of Kentucky to know that we feel for her and we want justice'
LeBron James has paid tribute to Breonna Taylor who was killed insider her apartment in a botched raid earlier this year. The 35-year-old basketball player also demanded justice for the 26-year-old emergency medical technician, who was hit at least eight times on March 13 when officers barged into her Kentucky apartment while she was sleeping.
“We want the cops arrested who committed that crime,” James said following his return from the NBA's coronavirus stoppage on Thursday night, July 23. He referred to officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove who allegedly killed Taylor. To honor the slain Black woman, James also wore sneakers that had the message “#Justice4BreonnaT” written over them while his Los Angeles Lakers lost a game to the Dallas Mavericks at the NBA's bubble outside Orlando. The recent game was the first match of both the teams since mid-March when the NBA season was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Just like African-American man George Floyd, who was allegedly killed in police custody on May 25, Taylor has also become a symbol of police brutality against Black people. People across the US have demanded justice for both of them while holding Black Lives Matter protests.
The top 22 NBA teams’ players are currently being quarantined at Disney World, where they have been kept in constant surveillance and tested frequently with the hope to restart the 2019-20 season next week. Along with their planning to restart the game, the players are also using their platform to support Black Lives Matter and be its voice. “First of all, I want to continue to shed light on justice for Breonna Taylor and to her family and everything that's going on with that situation. As one of the leaders of this league, I want her family to know, and I want the state of Kentucky to know that we feel for her and we want justice. That's what it's all about. What's right is right and what's wrong is wrong,” James said.
He added that Black Lives Matter is not just a movement, but it’s a lifestyle. “When you're Black, it's not a movement. It's a lifestyle. We sit here and say it's a movement, and, okay ... how long is this movement going to last? 'Don't stop the movement.' ... No, this is a walk of life. When you wake up and you're black, that is what it is. It shouldn't be a movement. It should be a lifestyle. This is who we are,” James explained.
However, it’s not just that the NBA players who are demanding social change, their coaches - most of them are White - are also on the same path. “I think it's just understanding the moment and the movement that is taking place. That's what all our coaches are doing, and as white coaches, they're no fools. I think the beauty of our game is, we coach African American men, myself and the white coaches. We're around it. We know our league is predominantly African American. So why not? If we're going to ask for others to be empathetic, I think we all have to be empathetic,” Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce said.