LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose among NBA players who wear 'I Can't Breathe' t-shirts to support Eric Garner

Chicago Bulls star Rose started a trend that is spreading across the league

Tom Sheen
Wednesday 10 December 2014 12:05

Last Saturday, former NBA MVP Derrick Rose started a trend that has spread across the league - he wore a t-shirt with the slogan 'I can't breathe'.

The non-indictment of a New York City police officer who choked Eric Garner to death sparked protests across the US, with the slogan a common sight.

Rose was the first to wear it and fellow players, as well as whole teams have now followed suit.

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James saw Rose's shirt and opted to wear one at the first opportunity on Monday night as did a group of Brooklyn Nets players in the same game.

Derrick Rose, the first to wear an 'I Can't Breathe' shirt on Saturday

Last night, ahead of the team's win against the Sacramento Kings, the Los Angeles Lakers issued them to every player on their team ahead - though not all decided to wear one.

"I had the shirt made, my best friend Randall brought it to the game, and I decided to wear it," Rose said on Sunday. "It wasn't any one [person's] idea, I just thought I wanted to support something that happened. That's what made me wear the shirt."

He added: "I grew up and I saw [violence] every day. Not killing or anything like that, but I saw the violence every day. Just seeing what can happen. If anything, I'm just trying to change the kids' minds across the nation and it starts here."

LeBron James

Speaking on Monday, James added: "It's not a Cavs thing. It's a worldly thing."

"It's just for us to make a [statement] to understand what we're going through as a society," James said when asked about the T-shirt. "I've been quoted over and over about what's going on as far as it's more of a notion to the family, more than anything.

"Obviously, as a society we have to do better. We have to be better for one another. It doesn't matter what race you are. It's more of a shout out to the family more than anything, because they're the ones that should be getting all the energy and effort."

Players of the NFL's St Louis Rams held a similar protest last month when they emerged onto the field in a 'hands up, don't shoot' pose as a reaction to the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

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