The Charlotte Hornets joined the “I Can’t Breathe” movement among professional athletes, focused on the choking death of a New York man last summer.
All 13 Hornets on the active roster warmed up for Saturday’s home game against the Brooklyn Nets wearing black T-shirts with white lettering reading, “I Can’t Breathe.”
That sentence is related to the death of Staten Island’s Eric Garner, a black man who died as the result of a chokehold by a New York City police officer.
A New York grand jury chose not to indict the police officer, which has sparked various protests around the country.
“I can’t breathe” were reportedly Garner’s last words before he died. He was the father of six and suffered from asthma.
Chicago Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose was the first NBA player to wear the “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt while warming up for a game against the Golden State Warriors Dec. 7. Since then the Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers have warmed up in the shirts.
As more teams have chosen to wear the T-shirts, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently told Yahoo Sports that while he respects players expressing personal views, he would prefer they abide by the league’s on-court attire rules.
However the league has levied no fines for uniform violations in these instances.