Shock and tragedy are a constant in 2020, starting with Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven other people killed in a helicopter crash. But after George Floyd’s unnecessary death, Vanessa Bryant remembers how much her living husband hasn’t changed.
Hearing Floyd helplessly say “I can’t breathe” when Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground with one knee to his neck, and seeing countless protests and riots across the country this week, Vanessa Bryant was taken away. back to many. In 2014, when Eric Garner spoke the same words, while police drowned him on Staten Island, prompting Kobe and other players to honor Garner’s memory in shirts patterned with the heartbreaking quote.
“My husband was wearing this shirt years ago and yet here we are again.” # ICANTBREATHE, “Vanessa Bryant wrote on Instagram.” Life is so fragile. Life is so unpredictable. Life is too short. Let’s share and accept the beautiful qualities and similarities that we all share as people. Expel hatred and respect. love everyone at home and school. Spread love. Fight for change: register to VOTE. Don’t use innocent lives lost as an excuse to loot. BE AN EXAMPLE OF THE CHANGE WE WANT TO SEE. #BLACKLIVESMATTER ❤️ “.
Bryant arranged for almost all of the Lakers to wear the jerseys, also worn by LeBron James, Derrick Rose, and members of the Brooklyn Nets.
“I think it is we who support that movement and we support each other,” Bryant said in 2014. “The beauty of our country lies in its democracy. I think if we ever lose the courage to stand up for the things we believe in, I think we really lose the value that our country represents. ”
NBA players, past and present, have been frank about Floyd’s death, including James and Donovan Mitchell. Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns attended a rally in Minneapolis, along with former player Stephen Jackson, a friend of Floyd’s. Celtics’ Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours to participate in a protest in his native Atlanta, along with Malcolm Brogdon and Justin Anderson of the Pacers of the Long Island Nets.
“I drove 15 hours to get to Georgia, my community,” Brown said on Instagram Live. “This is a peaceful protest. Being a celebrity, being an NBA player doesn’t exclude me from any conversation. First of all, I am a black man and a member of this community … We are raising awareness of some of the injustices that we have been seeing. Not well.
“As a young man, you have to listen to our perspective. Our voices need to be heard. I’m 23 years old. I don’t know all the answers, but I feel how everyone else feels, for sure. No question.”
Brown also posted a photo with a sign saying “I can’t breathe.”