LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers had no issue getting past the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 4 of their opening round playoff series on Monday night at Walt Disney World.
James, however, wasn’t focused much on the specifics of that 135-115 win when the final buzzer rang.
He was busy both thinking about honoring former Lakers star Kobe Bryant on “Kobe Bryant Day,” and about Jacob Blake — the Black man who was shot seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday afternoon.
LeBron James on playing on 8/24, Jacob Blake, and police brutality in America.pic.twitter.com/uWwjwPVHmb
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) August 25, 2020
“I’m extremely blessed and honored to be able to play on 8/24 and continue to remember Kobe Bryant and Gigi Bryant and all the fallen people that was a part of that tragic incident,” James said on TNT after the game. “At the same time having the emotions of going on of what happened outside of Milwaukee to … Jacob Blake.
LeBron James: ‘It’s just f--ked up in our community’
Blake was shot seven times in the back by a white police officer outside of Milwaukee as he was trying to get into his car — where his three children were waiting in the back seat — on Sunday afternoon. A lawyer for the family said that he had been trying to break up an argument when police arrived, according to The New York Times.
Horrific video of the incident showed the officer shooting Blake multiple times, and sparked widespread outrage both inside the sports world and out.
James tweeted about the incident on Sunday night. His tweet included a link to the video of the shooting, which is extremely graphic.
“And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!!” he wrote. “Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted. This s--t is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE”
James addressed the shooting again after the game on Monday night.
After seeing the video several times himself, he doesn’t understand why the situation escalated so quickly.
“If you’re sitting here telling me that there was no way to subdue that gentleman or detain him before the firing of guns, then you’re sitting here and you’re lying to not only me, but you’re lying to every African American, every Black person in the community because we see it over and over and over,” James said. “If you watch the video, there was multiple moments where if they wanted to they could’ve tackled him. They could’ve grabbed him. They could’ve done that.
“Why does it always have to get to a point where we see the guns firing? His family is there, the kids are there, it’s in broad daylight … It’s just, quite frankly it’s just f--ked up in our community.”
‘We are terrified’
Blake, according to The New York Times, is now in stable condition in a local hospital.
That incident, James said, is a perfect representation of how he and other Black people in the country feel on a daily basis.
“People get tired of hearing me say it, but we are scared as Black people in America,” James said. “Black men, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified. Because you don’t know. You have no idea.
“You have no idea how that cop that day left the house. You don’t know if he woke up on the good side of the bed. You don’t know if he woke up on the wrong side of the bed. You don’t know if he had an argument at home with a significant other, if one of his kids said something crazy to him and he left the house steaming. Or maybe he just left the house saying today is going to be the end for one of these black people.
“That’s what it feels like. That’s what it feels like. It just hurts. It hurts. It’s just through the grace of God that he’s still living. Like seven shots, close range and he’s still alive? That’s through the grace of God right there.
“My prayers go out to that family and that community, but I’ve got nothing nice to say about those cops at all. At all.”
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