Newspaper article International New York Times

Bulls Guard Sees Taking a Stand as a Responsibility ; Former M.V.P. Kicked off a Trend as First to Wear 'I Can't Breathe' T-Shirt

Newspaper article International New York Times

Bulls Guard Sees Taking a Stand as a Responsibility ; Former M.V.P. Kicked off a Trend as First to Wear 'I Can't Breathe' T-Shirt

Article excerpt

In Derrick Rose's hometown of Chicago, he was already known as someone with a social conscience before he became the first N.B.A. player to don an "I Can't Breathe" T-shirt.

Derrick Rose was in his downtown apartment one night late last week with two of his oldest friends, Tim Flowers and Randall Hampton.

They all grew up on the South Side here, have known one another since middle school and played high school basketball together. Rose and Flowers even lived on the same block in Englewood, one of Chicago's rougher neighborhoods.

Now, inside the gleaming Trump Tower, they watched the streets below fill with demonstrators.

The protests followed a grand jury's decision not to indict a New York police officer after his chokehold led to the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man. A video of the July confrontation on Staten Island revealed Garner gasping and saying, "I can't breathe."

As the three friends watched the protest, they talked about Garner and then Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed over the summer by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. Flowers and Rose talked about their old neighborhood, just a few miles away, where violence was a part of everyday life.

And they talked about something else, too. Rose, the backcourt star of the Chicago Bulls, had already asked Hampton to find him a shirt bearing Garner's final words, which had become a rallying cry across the country. And as the three friends sat there and talked, it became clear that Rose intended to wear the shirt and make a statement.

"That night we talked about how we supported him," Flowers said of Rose. "That wearing the shirt was an important thing to do, that it was a responsibility."

It did not take long for Rose to get the shirt. And last Saturday night, when the Bulls took on Golden State in Chicago, he wore it during warm-ups. It was black, with white letters that stated, "I Can't Breathe."

What Rose began, other N.B.A. players have continued. On Monday in Brooklyn, the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James wore a similar shirt, as did a number of Nets. On Tuesday night, in Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant and his Lakers teammates wore "I Can't Breathe" shirts before they took on the Sacramento Kings. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.