Protests took place in the state after the shooting, which occurred Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Video appears to show police — who were responding to a domestic disturbance — shooting at Blake seven times as he tried to enter his vehicle. The video was distributed on social media and shared by Blake’s attorney, Ben Crump.
Blake was hospitalized in serious condition.
Hours after posting his thoughts on social media, James led the Lakers to a 135-115 Game 4 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers that preceded an impassioned postgame interview on TNT.
“It’s what we’ve been talking about. And it’s what we’re gonna continue to talk about. Having two boys of my own, and me being an African American in America, and to see what continues to happen with the policy brutality towards my kind, continue to see what goes on with the injustice — it’s very troubling. It’s very troubling,” said James, who helped the Lakers take a 3-1 lead in this Western Conference first-round series. “We play a beautiful game which brings so many families together, and people being able to rejoice and enjoy it. But at the same time, never losing track of what’s really going on in our world, especially here in America.”
James illustrated his bittersweet range of emotions after the victory in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, in which he posted 30 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists.
“My prayers go to their family, and hopefully we can have some change. And I believe it starts with November,” he said, referring to Election Day. “I believe it starts with November. That’s why I started the initiative that I’m doing with ‘More Than A Vote’ — and getting people to understand what’s really at risk, and the change that we continue to talk about: Change.
“We have an opportunity to make change. But it still doesn’t stop there, even with whoever comes next.”
Earlier in the day, James, in retweeting Crump’s message, wrote, “And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!! Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted. This s— is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE”.
Across the NFL, as training camps continued, several stars posted reactions, including a pair of New Orleans Saints, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, with the former writing, “Attempted murder.. I pray he survives.”
Stop killing unarmed black people.
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) August 24, 2020
Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, who like James is in the midst of the first round of the NBA playoffs, reacted on Twitter, saying, “F THE GAMES AND PLAYOFFS!!! THIS IS SICK AND IS A REAL PROBLEM WE DEMAND JUSTICE!”
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul, moments after his team’s 117-114 win over the Houston Rockets in Game 4 that knotted their first-round series on Monday, addressed the incident in his postgame interview on TNT.
“I just want to send my prayers out to Jacob Blake and their family,” Paul said. “The things that we decided to come down here and play for — and said we were going to speak on, the social injustices — they are things that continue to happen, you know, to our people. It’s not right.”
“Just seeing that video, it’s ridiculous,” he said after posting 14 points, 19 rebounds and 6 assists. “Someone has to be held accountable when stuff like that happens. Someone has to be held accountable.”
Indiana guard Victor Oladipo agreed.
“What we’re fighting for, what we’re preaching, what we’re trying to change, it has not been changed yet,” he said after his team’s loss. “Wins and losses is tough, getting swept is tough, but at the end of the day, nobody’s dead. People are dying. This is not OK. We have to keep doing our part until change really comes.”