Cleveland Cavaliers stars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving joined the list of athletes speaking out following the death of Eric Garner and the subsequent decision by a New York grand jury not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer involved in Garner's death.
According to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, a shirt bearing the slogan "I can't breathe" was visible in James' locker before Monday night's game against the Brooklyn Nets:
LeBron James has a black "I can't breathe" shirt in his locker— Stefan Bondy (@nydninternets) December 8, 2014
Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group photographed James wearing the shirt during warmups:
The four-time Most Valuable Player elaborated on his opinion regarding the situation, per Zach Schonbrun of The New York Times:
"As a society, we have to do better. No matter what race you are" -- LeBron James #CavsNets— Zach Schonbrun (@zschonbrun) December 8, 2014
Irving joined his Cavaliers teammate in the silent protest. Bleacher Report's Howard Beck snapped a photo of the All-Star point guard before the game:
According to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, former Cavs guard Jarrett Jack, who now plays with the Nets, provided the shirt to Irving:
Kyrie Irving wearing the "I can't breathe" t-shirt tonight pregame. Said he got it from Jarrett Jack.— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) December 8, 2014
Jay Z standing with Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, Jarrett Jack & Alan Anderson. They can't breathe pic.twitter.com/0hsLmodSgZ— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) December 9, 2014
On Tuesday, the entire Los Angeles Lakers team had the shirts in their lockers according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:
Lakers have "I can't breathe" shirt in lockers - think whole team— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) December 10, 2014
The Lakers tweeted a picture showing Kobe Bryant and company in the shirts:
The slogan refers to Garner telling officers he couldn't breathe while one officer placed him in a chokehold.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver shared his reaction to the players' decision, via Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
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
James and Irving aren't the first athletes to signal their support for Garner's cause. Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose wore a similar shirt before Saturday's game against the Golden State Warriors.
Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush also showed his support for the movement prior to Detroit's game Sunday, per USA Today's For The Win:
In a similar vein, members of the St. Louis Rams made the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" gesture before a Week 13 game in solidarity with Michael Brown after he was fatally shot by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. A grand jury chose not to indict Wilson for Brown's killing:
On Sunday, James spoke about the movement and the t-shirts it's inspiring.
"It's spectacular," he said, per Haynes. "I loved it. I'm looking for one."
James also posted an Instagram photo in support of Brown after the grand jury decision: