PHOTOS: Derrick Rose, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving wear 'I Can't Breathe' t-shirts


NBA: Golden State Warriors at Chicago Bulls

NBA stars are voicing their opinions on an extremely controversial topic.

On Saturday night, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose donned an “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt as the Bulls warmed up for their contest against the Golden State Warriors. Two nights after Rose sported the controversial shirt in warm-ups, Cleveland Cavaliers superstars LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were seen wearing a similar garment as they warmed up for their game against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.

Kevin Garnett, Alan Anderson, Deron Williams and Jarret Jack of the Brooklyn Nets were also seen wearing the shirts prior to their game against the Cavs on Tuesday night.



The “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts refer to African-American New York Man Eric Garner, who was placed in a chokehold and killed by a police officer as he was being arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes. The altercation between Garner and the police officer was caught on camera, and showed Garner saying to the police officer “I can’t breathe,” as he gasped for air.

Despite the video evidence, a grand jury ruled last Wednesday that they would not indict the officer who was involved in Garner’s death. The controversial decision has spawned protests all throughout the country, and has apparently caught the attention of some of the NBA’s biggest superstars.

Rose discussed his decision to wear the shirt to Bleacher Report on Monday, stating that his two-year-old son Derrick Rose Jr., was the reason why he wore it:

I grew up and I saw it every day,” Rose said. “Not killing or anything like that, but I saw the violence every day. Just seeing what can happen. If anything, I’m just trying to change the kids’ minds across the nation and it starts here.”

“I’m a parent now,” Rose said. “I had a kid two years ago. It probably would have been different [before his son was born]. I probably wouldn’t have worn the shirt. But now that I’m a dad, it’s just changed my outlook on life, period.

“I don’t want my son growing up being scared of the police or having the thought that something like that could happen. I have a cousin, that easily could have been him (that was killed), or that easily could have been one of our relatives. It’s sad that people lost their lives over that.”

“Usually I’ll stay out of politics and stay out of police brutality,” Rose said. “I’m not saying all cops are bad or anything, I’m just saying what happened those days [in New York and Ferguson], it was uncalled for and I think that it hurt a lot of people. It hurt the nation.

“But my biggest concern is the kids. I know what they’re thinking right now. I was one of those kids. When you live in an area like that and you’ve got no hope, and police aren’t treating you any way, I’m not saying all police are treating kids bad, but when you live in an area like that, it gives you another reason to be bad. So my biggest concern is the kids and and making sure that my son grows up in a safe environment.”

“I’m just happy that the league hasn’t said anything,” he said. “The franchise hasn’t said anything. I’m happy that everything has been positive.”

“I’m just happy that people paid attention to it,” he said. “I think it touched a lot of people because I grew up in an impoverished area like that, and that stuff happens a lot of times. It touched a lot of people and I wanted to make sure I got my point across.”

LeBron James spoke about the tragic situation after Cleveland’s 110-88 win over Brooklyn on Monday night, and stated that the Garner issue is a “worldly thing.”

“It’s just for us to make a [statement] to understand what we’re going through as a society,” James said when asked about the T-shirt. “I’ve been quoted over and over about what’s going on as far as it’s more of a notion to the family, more than anything. Obviously, as a society we have to do better. We have to be better for one another. It doesn’t matter what race you are. It’s more of a shout out to the family more than anything, because they’re the ones that should be getting all the energy and effort.”

Irivng also chimed in after Monday’s win:

“I think it’s really important that we show our respect to the families. More importantly we’re in the city where tragedy happened and it’s really important to us that we stand up for a cause, especially this one. It hits close to home and means a lot to me.”

“It’s bigger than all of us,” added Irving. “We have to take a stand together. It’s truly important that we do.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Yahoo! Sports that he respects the players taking a stand and making their views on the situation known, but he would prefer if they stray away from wearing alternate pre-game attire on the court.

Brooklyn guard Jarret Jack provided both the Cavaliers and Nets with the t-shirts for Monday night’s warm-ups.



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