Former NBA megastar Michael Jordan was just as famous for being apolitical during his playing days as he was for his gravity-defying aerial acrobatics and his Nike sneakers.
But the man considered the greatest basketball player of all time has spoken up in the wake of the killing of George Floyd on Memorial Day in Minneapolis and its devastating, widespread aftermath.
“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry,” Jordan, 56, said in a statement Sunday. “… I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.
“I don’t have the answers, but our collective voices show strength and the inability to be divided by others. We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality. We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability.”
Statement from Michael Jordan: pic.twitter.com/lWkZOf1Tmr
— Jordan (@Jumpman23) May 31, 2020
LeBron James, whose illustrious career has been punctuated by public stances on social issues, has spoken on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, asking in one post: “Why don’t they love us?”
King James, 35, who donned a hoodie after the murder of Trayvon Martin and also wore an “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt after the police-involved death of Eric Garner, has defiantly worn Colin Kaepernick jerseys as well. And, on Instagram, LBJ demonstrated to his 65 million followers why he backs “Kaep”:
Tiger Woods, who is just as averse to taking sociopolitical stances as Jordan was, nevertheless came out and said police “crossed the line” in Floyd’s death.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) June 2, 2020
The Players Coalition, an independent organization working with athletes, coaches and owners across leagues to improve social justice and racial equality in the United States, issued a statement on its Twitter page calling for accountability from those in law enforcement, government and the courts.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) June 1, 2020
Here’s what athletes and sports figures had to say:
If anybody that follows me is not outraged about these senseless attacks on BLACK MEN, please stop following me! If your spirit is not disturbed, please stop following me! This inflicted Pain but it will never inflict FEAR… sorry, were not made like that! #BlackMenMatter pic.twitter.com/A9tSSzOSh6
— Lisa Leslie (@LisaLeslie) May 27, 2020
JUSTICE WILL NOT BE SERVED UNTIL THOSE UNAFFECTED ARE AS OUTRAGED AS THOSE WHO ARE‼️‼️‼️‼️‼️
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) May 27, 2020
George Floyd was clearly murdered by a Minneapolis police officer. How many times do we have to see black men killed on national television? This has been going on for entirely too long. We need to start seeing black people as human beings and not animals on the street.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 27, 2020