Knicks' Dennis Smith Jr. Joins Fayetteville Protest After Death of George Floyd

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 31, 2020

New York Knicks' Dennis Smith Jr. plays during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

J. Cole and New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. joined protests in Fayetteville, North Carolina, in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in the custody of Minneapolis police Monday.

ESPN @espn

Dennis Smith Jr. and J. Cole joined protests in Fayetteville, NC today. (via @herecummimi) https://t.co/AxxFKNXeNt

Per Ray Sanchez, Joe Sutton and Artemis Moshtaghian of CNN.com, video showed officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into the back of the neck of Floyd, who told officers that he couldn't breathe and that his body hurt while lying prone on a Minneapolis street. He died at a nearby hospital later that day.

Protests around the country continued Saturday, and numerous athletes have either spoken out and/or taken to the streets nationwide.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns took part in a protest that also involved ex-NBA star Stephen Jackson, who was good friends with Floyd.

Master @MasterTes

Karl Anthony Towns lost his mother due to COVID-19. He’s outside demanding justice for the murder of George Floyd. Can’t even imagine man. https://t.co/fnrBzsSJiI

Former NBA player Royce White also led a protest Friday that traversed through Minneapolis.

robertklemko @RobertKlemko

This protest was started via text message by former NBA player Royce White with 200 people. It’s now morphed into thousands of people marching down I35. https://t.co/iQCThMboX3

Ohio State men's basketball player Seth Towns, who recently transferred from Harvard, was detained by police following a peaceful protest.

Seth 💤 @seth_towns17

In a span of just 24 hours, I walked across a Harvard virtual graduation stage into the back of police van alongside other peaceful protestors—both of which I am equally proud of. https://t.co/qtvXmw0Fwq

And many others—including the Washington Mystics' Natasha Cloud and the Basketball Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie—penned powerful statements in response to Floyd's death, which continues a line of deaths of unarmed black people that includes Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.