LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — In the Los Angeles Lakers’ meal room — positioned down the corridor from the courtroom the group practiced on Wednesday — the tv had been left on. The information anchor was dissecting a Kentucky grand jury’s determination to not prosecute any of the officers concerned within the loss of life of Breonna Taylor.
In the ballroom-turned-practice-facility across the nook, the Lakers have been ending up the day’s exercise. LeBron James, sitting off to the aspect of the courtroom consuming a sandwich, mentioned the choice with longtime pal Randy Mims and shook his head.
Lakers gamers, planning for a lightweight follow after they misplaced Game three of the Western Conference finals to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, had their telephones pinged by James earlier that afternoon, prepping them for the information.
“Bron texted the group chat that there might be an announcement made,” Lakers guard Danny Green stated. “Nobody was really happy about it. It was disappointing. In a sense, something was done, but it wasn’t enough. Most guys felt it was definitely not enough. … It’s a tough one. It’s a tough one.”
On Wednesday, a grand jury in Louisville indicted one police officer — Brett Hankison — for shooting through the walls and into neighboring apartments. Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in connection to the police raid that resulted in the death of Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, on the night of March 13.
James, who did not speak to reporters following Wednesday’s practice, later tweeted that he has “been lost for words today.”
“I’m devastated, hurt, sad, mad!” James wrote on Twitter. “We want Justice for Breonna yet justice was met for her neighbors apartment walls and not her beautiful life.
“Was I surprised at the verdict. Absolutely not but damnit I was & still am hurt and heavy hearted! I send my love to Breonna mother, family and friends! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!!”
I’ve been lost for words today! I’m devastated, hurt, sad, mad! We want Justice for Breonna yet justice was met for her neighbors apartment walls and not her beautiful life. Was I surprised at the verdict. Absolutely not but damnit I was & still am hurt and heavy hearted! I send
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 24, 2020
my like to Breonna mom, household and
buddies! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!! 😔😔🥺🥺😢😢😢😭😭😭
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 24, 2020
Like many Americans, NBA gamers have been anticipating a call on this case for months. Calls for justice for Taylor — and for the cops concerned in her loss of life to be held accountable in courtroom — have been fixed from gamers within the bubble in Orlando, Florida.
In the early days of the season restart, a number of gamers — together with Lakers guard Alex Caruso and Nuggets ahead Jerami Grant — devoted complete interview periods to discussing solely Taylor.
NBA groups started to advocate for victims of police brutality in their very own cities. Nearly a month in the past, video games within the bubble got here to a halt after the Milwaukee Bucks determined to not play their first-round recreation in opposition to the Orlando Magic because the group reeled from the taking pictures of Jacob Blake — a Black man — by cops in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Green, who has talked about Taylor’s case to start each certainly one of his media periods since July, lamented the truth that the league’s gamers have not come collectively since an “all hands on deck” assembly in August in response to the Bucks’ determination.
“We’re still trying to make the proper steps,” Green stated. “We haven’t even gotten the chance to reconvene. We need more time as a group — not just as our team but as everyone in the bubble and outside the bubble — to figure out how we can continue to get progress in these certain aspects, in these certain categories, in these certain communities, specifically with what happened today wasn’t enough, we felt, and I’m sure most people around the country felt the same.”
Caruso, a white participant who has chosen to put on the message “Black Lives Matter” on the again of his uniform, identified that for as a lot consideration because the Taylor case is receiving, racial inequity stays pervasive.
“This one case, I think, is the focal point right now, but even since then, there’s been more Black innocent people that have been killed,” Caruso stated. “You know, it’s just going to be a long journey. Steps like this are hopefully small steps in the right direction, but there’s still such a long way to go.”
The timing of Nuggets follow Wednesday additionally coincided with the grand jury’s determination changing into public. Denver coach Michael Malone supplied the ground to Grant to handle the group, which Grant declined as a result of the information was so recent.
“He chose not to, which I truly understood,” Malone stated. “I at least wanted to give him, before we got into basketball, the option to do so because I know it’s something that he’s been carrying in his heart throughout this process.”
Malone has persistently worn a black T-shirt with the phrases “Justice for Elijah McClain” printed on the entrance in white letters to information conferences in Orlando. McClain, a 23-year-old Black man, was strolling dwelling from a comfort retailer final summer season when cops in Aurora, Colorado, put him in a chokehold, inflicting him to grow to be unresponsive. McClain was injected with ketamine when paramedics arrived, which precipitated him to enter cardiac arrest, and he died a number of days later.
“I know we’ve been using our platform down here to try to bring about education and a voice in a lot of players on our team, especially also spoken out on justice for Breonna Taylor,” Malone stated. “We have not gotten that justice. That’s a shame. Hopefully that will change at some point.”
Speaking to reporters earlier than Game four of the Eastern Conference finals, Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra known as Wednesday’s end result “not justice,” including that the $12 million civil settlement the town of Louisville reached with Taylor’s household final week “looks like such a ridiculously empty payoff.”
“This has all been about justice,” Spoelstra stated, referring to the pushes gamers and coaches have made for regulation enforcement to be held accountable. “And it was not served.”
His Celtics counterpart, Brad Stevens, described the information as “demoralizing,” telling reporters, “To have 15 rounds of gunfire fired, 5 of which hit her, and there to be wanton endangerment — which I did not know existed earlier than as we speak — because the cost … it is robust.
“At the tip of the day, there’s been a name throughout the nation, rightfully so, for extra transparency, extra accountability and only a higher group relationship. And clearly, this feels love a setback to that.”
ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.