And while many now know the Houston native by his full name, those who knew him best called him Floyd.
He worked security in a restaurant where he developed a reputation as someone who I had my back turned and was there for you when you were depressed.
“To know my brother is to love my brother,” Philonise Floyd, George’s brother, told CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday.
Floyd, 46, died Monday in the city he moved to for a better life, his last moments captured on video. While being arrested, Floyd was held by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. The video shows Floyd pleading that he is in pain and cannot breathe. Then he closed his eyes and the pleas stopped. He was pronounced dead shortly after.
He was a trainable boy with a big heart.
After high school, basketball head coach George Walker recruited Floyd to play at South Florida State College in Avon Park, Florida. Floyd was a student there from 1993 to 1995, Walker told CNN.
“It didn’t give me too much trouble as a basketball coach,” Walker said. “He was a pretty good athlete, averaging 12-14 points per game.”
Floyd was a trainable boy with a big heart, according to Walker’s wife, Gloria.
Of all the college athletes on the school team, she said Floyd had her most attention “because he was just a fun person.”
“He was never one who tried to blame others for his own mistakes,” he said. “He always recognized them and always tried to do better.”
I was trying to be a better father.
The He moved to Minnesota to work and drive trucks, according to his friend and former NBA player Stephen Jackson.
Jackson, a Houston native too, calls Floyd his twin.
“I listened to George in the last few days more than I ever heard, and we had a relationship of more than 21 years,” Jackson told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Thursday. “His name was always Floyd, my twin.”
Floyd was known in the community as a protector and provider who did not have a hateful bone in his body, according to Jackson. He got along well with everyone and rarely wanted anything in exchange for helping someone, Jackson said.
“The difference between me and my brother was that I had more opportunities than him,” Jackson wrote, who won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003. “Two things we have in common, both from below and both, will live forever.”
Once Floyd moved to Minnesota, Jackson said Floyd talked a lot about his journey to create better opportunities for himself.
“The last time I spoke to him was about a year ago, and every conversation we had that year was about improving ourselves and being better parents,” Jackson said. “That’s all he talked about.”
Floyd is the father of two daughters, the youngest is 6, according to Jackson.
“I want justice for your children,” he said. “I want them to take care of their children. Their father is not here.”
Jackson vows to support his friend’s children and “replace Floyd” and said he wants to make sure they are cared for.
In Houston, Rose Hudson, who dated Floyd more than 20 years ago, told CNN affiliate KTRK that she and Floyd had a daughter who is now the mother of a young child.
“My daughter had to watch her dad being killed on live television,” said Hudson.
Floyd had not met his 3-year-old granddaughter, according to Hudson.
“I’ll just let him know he was a great guy,” he said. “He was a good father to his daughters. I only have memories, that’s all I can give him, memories of his grandfather.”
Floyd worked in security at Conga Latin Bistro in Minneapolis for five years, according to its owner, Jovanni Thunstrom.
Although he was an employee of Thunstrom, the couple were also friends.
“He was loved by all my employees and my clients,” Thunstrom told CNN.
Floyd would help clean up after the bar had closed and he was a “very nice guy and very good to customers,” according to Thunstrom.
“He stood up for people, he was there for people when they were depressed, he loved people who were thrown out,” Courteney Ross, the other half of Floyd, told WCCO. “We prayed at every meal, we prayed if we were having a bad time, we prayed if we were having a good time.”
People who didn’t know Floyd are also outraged
The anger at Floyd’s death goes beyond his family and friends. Several celebrities have reacted to the incident on social media.
At the time, Kaepernick had said he would not honor a song or “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses blacks and people of color.”
James’ post is accompanied by the caption, “Do you understand NOW? !!? OR ARE YOU ALSO DELETED FOR YOU ???”
His family believes that the police did not do enough to help him.
Some of the protests have been peaceful, while others have been destructive.
Although the four Minneapolis officers involved in Floyd’s death were fired, members of his family said that was not enough. They want to see all the officers accused of murder.
“They were supposed to be there to serve and protect and I didn’t see any of them raise a finger to do something to help while begging for their lives. None of them tried to do anything to help him.”, Tera Brown, Floyd’s cousin, he told CNN’s Lemon.
CNN’s Omar Jiménez, Christina Maxouris, Josh Campbell, Melissa Alonso, Ray Sánchez, Joe Sutton and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.