The killing of Eric Garner at the hands of New York Police officer Daniel Pantaleo and a grand jury’s decision not to indict the cop for choking Garner to death has led to widespread protests across the country. That social and political statement response has even entered into sports culture.
Before last night’s Cavalier-Nets game, NBA stars LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, and others wore t-shirts with “I Can’t Breathe” printed on the front. Those were Garner’s final words before dying in Staten Island on July 17th. Players from both teams were given the shirts by Nets guard Jarrett Jack.

“It’s just for us to make a statement to understand what we’re going through as a society,” said James. “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.”
Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose previously wore an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt before Saturday’s game against the Golden State Warriors. The decision by the former MVP was seen as a major statement, considering Rose is one of the most reserved and media shy superstars in the league.