LeBron James reacts to death of George Floyd: ‘Why doesn’t America love us?’

LeBron James wears a T-shirt with the words "I Can't Breathe" during pregame warmups.
LeBron James wears a T-shirt with the words “I can’t breathe” during warmups for a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 8, 2014.
(Frank Franklin II / Associated Press)

LeBron James has added his voice to those of prominent athletes around the world expressing outrage over the death of George Floyd.

In a Twitter post Sunday morning, the Lakers star wrote, “Why Doesn’t America Love US!!!!!???? TOO.

This isn’t the first time James has spoken out on social media since Floyd, a black man, died in police custody in Minneapolis last week. A video of the incident shows white police officer Derek Chauvin holding Floyd down by putting his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. At one point, Floyd says, “I can’t breathe,” before losing consciousness. Chauvin, fired by the Minneapolis Police Department, has been charged with third-degree murder.

On Instagram, James posted an image of Chauvin pinning Floyd down alongside an image of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem, with the words “This ... is why.”


James also posted a photo of himself Wednesday wearing a shirt with the words, “I can’t breathe,” which he wore during warmups for a game following the 2014 death of Eric Garner in New York. On Saturday, James shared reactions from activist and rapper Killer Mike and video clips from late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel and Ana DuVernay, who co-wrote and directed the Netflix drama “When They See Us,” about the Central Park Five.

James isn’t the only professional athlete or coach calling for justice in the wake of Floyd’s death.

  • In an opinion piece published by the Los Angeles Times, Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writes on institutional racism and people pushed to their limit.
  • Former NBA player Stephen Jackson, who was friends with Floyd, has taken part in protests in Minneapolis. The 14-year NBA veteran called Floyd “my twin” while speaking during a rally Friday. “A lot of times, when police do things they know that’s wrong, the first thing they try to do is cover it up, and bring up their background — to make it seem like the . . . that they did was worthy,” Jackson said during the rally. “When was murder ever worthy? But if it’s a black man, it’s approved.” In addition to Jackson, Minnesota Timberwolves players Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie attended the rally.
  • Colin Kaepernick, whose NFL career dissolved in 2016 after he protested police brutality against minorities by taking a knee during the national anthem before games, has helped launch a defense fund to provide defense lawyers for protesters arrested in Minneapolis.
  • Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown led a peaceful protest march in Atlanta on Saturday. “I drove 15 hours to get to Georgia, my community,” Brown told ESPN. “This is a peaceful protest. Being a celebrity, being an NBA player, don’t exclude me from no conversations at all. First and foremost, I’m a black man and I’m a member of this community. . . . We’re raising awareness for some of the injustices we’ve been seeing. It’s not OK.”
  • Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart explains why he took part in a protest in Boston on Sunday:
  • In an Instagram post, New York Mets star Pete Alonso wrote “he will not remain silent” following the death of Floyd. “I will never know what it feels like to be discriminated against because the color of my skin. To anyone who faces this type of discrimination, I will fight for you and be an ally. I will always stand with you. There needs to be justice and change made for the better of humanity. Let words be our sword and unity be our armor. Take care of each other,” he wrote.
  • After scoring a goal Sunday, Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho removed his jersey to reveal a message of “Justice for George Floyd” on his shirt.
  • Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey, who coached the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2005 to 2007, said Floyd’s death needed to lead to real change.
  • In an essay on the Players’ Tribune, Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud writes that people who remain silent about the county’s racial issues are part of the problem.
  • Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores says the outrage people of influence expressed when Kaepernick took a knee before games hasn’t matched their outrage over the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Floyd:
  • NBA great Michael Jordan released a statement Sunday, encouraging people to collectively “show strength and the inability to be divided by others.”
  • In a message on Instagram, Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton called out the predominantly white auto racing industry for staying silent “in the midst of injustice.”
  • Rams quarterback Jared Goff was among the athletes calling for change in the wake of Floyd’s death.”My heart hurts for the country,” Goff posted in an Instagram story Saturday.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff posts message to Instagram following George Floyd's death.
(Jared Goff)

Many other athletes reacted to Floyd’s death on social media over the weekend:

The main concern of black people right now isn’t whether they’re standing three or six feet apart, but whether their sons, husbands, brothers and fathers will be murdered by cops.

May 30, 2020


The Associated Press contributed to this report.