Hornets' Nicolas Batum Joined Protests to Make Sure Son Doesn't Face Racism

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 11, 2020

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 4: Nicolas Batum #5 of the Charlotte Hornets looks on before the game against the Houston Rockets on February 4, 2020 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bill Baptist/Getty Images

Charlotte Hornets forward Nicolas Batum is one of many professional athletes who have joined protests against systemic racism and police brutality following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody.

Batum spoke with reporters (h/t Aria Gerson of USA Today) on a Zoom call Wednesday and said he attended with his wife, Aurelie, in part because of their four-year-old son, Ayden:

"I'm part of our movement because I have a 4-year-old son going to school. He's mixed, he's not really white, he's dark skinned, too, so I don't want him to [face racism]. I just want to make sure I can be part of the solution for my son later."

Batum, who was born and raised in France, joined the NBA in 2008 after the Houston Rockets selected him 25th overall in the draft and traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Batum said bananas were thrown at his basketball team when he was a teenager in France. He was also called a "monkey."

Batum also said this protest was the first one he attended since doing so in France at the age of 16.

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Per WBTV, the CBS affiliate in Charlotte, Kidz Fed Up and the NAACP's Charlotte-Mecklenburg Branch hosted the latest protest Batum attended on June 2.

"With a huge crowd including supporters, public officials, community leaders, organizers and public figures, the group united to stand against injustice in their community and all over the country," WBTV wrote.

The gathering and match featured speakers and protesters taking a knee outside police headquarters.

The Hornets have spoken out and taken action recently, with the Jordan Brand (whose namesake is team owner Michael Jordan) announcing a $100 million donation to "organizations dedicated to ensuring racial inequality, social justice and greater access to education."

Per Gerson, Hornets guard Terry Rozier and several team staff members joined the protest. Center Bismack Biyombo also expressed support for the protests and backed the Jordan Brand's donation.