Lakers Clinch No. 1 Seed; LeBron James Stays Focused on Social Justice

The Los Angeles Lakers took down the Phoenix Suns on Monday night to clinch their first No. 1 seed in a decade. After the game, however, LeBron James kept his focus on off-court issues by continuing to use his platform to speak on social justice issues.

LeBron showed up to the postgame press conference in a black t-shirt that featured a stopwatch with the time 8:46 and “Minnesota” printed below it. The back of the shirt read “The World is Watching This Time” with watches from various timezones across the world frozen on 8:46.

The shirt was a simple message and a reminder of the death of George Floyd.

While his shirt made its point, LeBron talked about his decision to wear the shirt while also applauding the NBA for giving players a platform to speak on issues that matter personally to them.

“You think about 8 minutes and 46 seconds, an officer having his knee on someone’s throat for that long. Video or no video, it doesn’t matter,” James said, as transcribed by ESPN.com. “No one deserved to lose their life when it could have been prevented from what I’ve seen and from what the world has seen. So that’s what the T-shirt is all about: The world is watching. Everyone knows the time. Everyone knows what’s going on.

“There were so many conversations before we got here that this right here, the bubble, us playing basketball would take away from the main thing. I think it’s been the absolute opposite of that. It’s given us the opportunity to every single day speak about, feel passionate about whatever is going on in your personal life, whatever is going on in society, us trying to make a change. Being dynamic. Being heard. And using this platform, which is the NBA, the most popular game in the world.

“And we’ve had that support. We’ve had that support from the league. We’ve had that support from the Union. And every player, either if he spoke out or not, has felt like they felt empowered, so if they feel like they want to say something or they feel like they want to hit on a topic, they don’t have to feel pressure. They don’t have to feel like they won’t be heard, like they won’t be supported. And that’s been a great thing to see: that we’ve been able to, as a league and as every individual, been able to voice our truth.”

Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020, after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on the back of his neck for nearly 8 minutes while Floyd pleaded for air. He was just 46 years old. The ex-officer, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested had his charges upgraded to second-degree murder. The three other officers involved — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — have been fired by the Minneapolis Police Department and were also arrested and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

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