Superstar Los Angeles Lakers player LeBron James spoke out again Monday night about the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake after his team’s playoff win over the Portland Trailblazers.
In his postgame comments, James was asked about the shooting of Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which has ignited a series of furious protests and riots across Wisconsin and other areas of the country.
LeBron James: We are scared as black people in America
“I know people get tired of hearing me say it, but we are scared as black people in America. Black men, black women, black kids, we are terrified,” James said.
James went on to criticize the specific actions taken by police as shown in video of the incident that has been widely shared on social media.
“If you’re sitting here and telling me that there was no way to subdue that gentleman or detain him or just before the firing of guns, then you’re sitting here and you’re lying to not only me, you’re lying to every African American, every black person in the community. Because we see it over and over and over. If you watch the video, there was multiple moments where if they wanted to, they could’ve tackled him. They could’ve grabbed him. You know? They could’ve done that. And why, why does it always have to get to a point where we see the guns firing?” James asked.
The NBA season was suspended in March after members of the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus immediately before a scheduled game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The NBA then constructed a “bubble” for potentially playoff-eligible teams in Orlando that was designed to prevent further coronavirus infections from interrupting the remainder of the season or the playoffs. In the bubble, players have taken a decidedly more activist tone, often wearing slogans on the backs of their jerseys expressing sentiments like “Black Lives Matter” and “Equality.”
The Blake shooting was a hot topic of conversation among players in the bubble on Monday, especially for players on the Milwaukee Bucks. Bucks guard George Hill went so far as to wonder aloud on Monday whether the NBA season should have restarted at all, saying, “We shouldn’t have even came to this damn place, to be honest. I think coming just here took all the focal points off what the issues are. But we’re here, so it is what it is.”
James is one of the few NBA players to opt out of placing a social justice message on the back of his jersey. As James explained in July, “It was no disrespect to the list that was handed out to all the players. I commend anyone that decides to put something on the back of their jersey. It’s just something that didn’t really seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal.”
In the game, James scored 30 points and added 6 rebounds and 10 assists for the Lakers, who scored the first 15 points of the game and never looked back, leading by as many as 37 in the second half.