Count Chicago Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose among the athletes bold enough to make a statement and stand in solidarity with protesters across the country as he donned a “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt during warm ups prior to the start of his Bulls taking on the Golden State Warriors Saturday night (Dec. 6th).
Aside from members of the St. Louis Rams taking the field symbolizing “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” a couple weeks ago, D. Rose’s show of support is one of what many are saying is far too few acknowledgements of the movement from athletes and entertainers across the board.
Just the day before, NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson made news when he spoke of how today’s athletes have to get more involved in social issues of the day.
“They have to get involved socially,” Johnson said Friday. “They have to because it affects them, too. And it affects their families. They grew up in these situations; they must not forget that. They [were] once poor, they went to inner city schools that didn’t have technology or computers, they didn’t have good books. See, I went through that whole situation. They went through that as well. A lot of their cousins are still going through that, so they must not forget that. I hope that they would do more.”
It’s unclear whether Rose took action in response to Johnson’s words, but what is evident is that he was supported by players across the league including Central Division foe and Cleveland Cavaliers star forward LeBron James.
“It’s spectacular,” James said. “I loved it. I’m looking for one. I think it was great.”
Though he didn’t do any media after Saturday’s game, Rose also had the support of his teammates whom he told beforehand that he planned to wear the shirt. Bulls center Joakim Noah was especially supportive telling media afterwards:
“I knew that Derrick was going to put that T-shirt on. I think he has every right to express his beliefs. He told me that he was going to wear it. I respect Derrick a lot. I think he’s definitely making a statement by wearing it. That’s my guy. I respect it. I think a lot of people feel that way. When you wear a T-shirt with a statement everybody’s going to know how you feel about it. I respect Derrick 150 percent and I’m riding with him … a lot of people feel that way. It’s really sad what happened. Police brutality is something that … it happens. Not every cop is a bad person. Not every Black person is a bad person. You can’t judge people. But he definitely made a statement by wearing that T-shirt.”
Rose is no stranger to taking a stand and trying to make a difference in the lives of others. The Chicago native has spoken very candidly about helping to bring an end to the violence that plagues parts of Chicago and before the start of the current season he donated $1 million to After School Matters, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that helps teenagers.