It takes a lot to rattle one of the greatest basketball players of this generation.
Yet, as Lebron James sat in the post-game conference on Monday after his Los Angeles Lakers took a commanding 3-1 series lead against the Portland Trail Blazers, he pondered about the future of his fellow Black men after another police shooting over the weekend.
On Sunday, August 23, Jacob Blake, an African-American man, was shot seven times in the back from a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The shooting occurred as he was trying to enter his car, where his three sons were in the back seat. According to the New York Times, a lawyer for the family said that he had been trying to break up an argument. The shooting occurred almost three months after the murder of George Floyd, which wasn’t lost on James as he vented his anger through Twitter.
“And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!!,” James exclaimed. “Someone please tell me WTF is
this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted. This shit is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE”
On Monday, which was also the late Kobe Bryant’s “holiday” (8/24), the Lakers star detailed the emotional burden of honoring Kobe Bryant on his day and dealing with the shooting of a black man by Wisconsin police officers.
“If you look at the video, there were several moments where, if they wanted to, they could have tackled him, they could have caught him,” James said. “They could have done that. Why does it always have to get to a point where we see the firearm? His family was there, his children, in broad daylight. And if that video hadn’t been filmed by someone from across the street, would we have seen it? Frankly, we are screwed.”
“I know people get tired of hearing it but we are scared as black people in America,” James added with concern. “Black men,
black women, black children… We are all terrified. No child should be afraid of the police, but they are. When I was little I would hide if I heard a patrol approaching, and that shouldn’t be the case.”
Finally, James made a call for change come November.
“In November, through voting, we as a country have a great opportunity to change,” James said. “We talk about change and there we have a great opportunity. We must make people understand that we are at risk. I also feel affected because I am African American.”
Blake’s father, Jacob Blake, Sr., has reported that his son is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the shooting, and it is unclear what the long-term prognosis for him will be. Blake’s shooting has caused civil unrest in Kenosha, as the city has entered a second straight day of riots.