As everyone knows by now, Eric Garner, a 43-year old African-American male, died after New York police put him in an illegal chokehold. As Garner squirmed on the ground with a police officer’s arm around his neck, he struggled, saying “I can’t breathe!” eleven times as his face was pressed against the sidewalk.
The officer escaped charges after a Grand Jury decided not to indict. Since then, Garner’s final words have been the rallying message used at protests and large “die-ins” that have popped up around the country.
And just recently, NBA players have shown their support, not by protesting on the street, but bringing awareness to the cause by simply wearing “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts during their pre-game warm-ups.
On Tuesday night, the Lakers took their turn to wear the shirts. That included Jeremy Lin, son of Taiwanese immigrants, joining the likes of African-American players Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Jordan Hill and most of his Los Angeles Lakers teammates in donning the black t-shirts.
I think seeing Jeremy Lin wearing the t-shirt was an important image for all to see. To me, this visually represents how race issues also resonate with Asian-Americans no matter whom it impacts and even though we don’t face the same stereotypes that have contributed to the untimely, tragic deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown and Tamir Rice and…
Among the other Los Angeles Lakers that wore the shirt included Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis, Jordan Clarkson, and Ronnie Price. Actually, every Lakers player wore the shirt except back up center Robert Sacre.
The Lakers are the latest team to send a message during pregame warm-ups. A few days ago, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and some of the Brookly Nets wore the shirts. Prior to that, Derrick Rose started it all off by shooting around with the shirt.