Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James wasn’t interested in talking about basketball in a postgame press conference following Thursday night’s scrimmage.
Instead, James started the nearly 15-minute session by talking about the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a Black emergency medical technician in Kentucky who was killed in March when plainclothes officers executed a no-knock warrant related to a narcotics investigation.
James, 35, then focused on the lack of progress in race relations over the past four years before transitioning into the meaning of Black Lives Matter.
“First of all, I want to continue to shed light on justice for Breonna Taylor and to her family and everything that’s going on with that situation,” James said following the Lakers’ 108-104 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
James wrote “#Justice4BreonnaT” in marker on his sneakers for the game. It’s a gesture he has done in the past dating to the death of Trayvon Martin, a Black 17-year-old who was killed near Orlando in 2012.
“Never afraid to speak about things that I was knowledgeable about, that I had insight on and that I was up to speed on,” James said. “With the Trayvon Martin case that was obviously years ago, with that situation I spoke about that, that situation. The George Floyd incident that happened not too long ago, that’s a horrible incident. And obviously the Breonna Taylor situation.
“It’s unfortunate that — well, it’s fortunate that we had the George Floyd video to see it. I mean, is that what we need to see — a video of Breonna being killed — for people to realize how bad the situation is?”
James then turned his attention to the phrase Black Lives Matter.
“A lot of people kind of use this analogy, talking about Black Lives Matter as a movement. It’s not a movement,” James said. “When you’re Black, it’s not a movement. It’s a lifestyle. We sit here and say it’s a movement, and, OK, how long is this movement going to last? ‘Don’t stop the movement.’ No, this is a walk of life. When you wake up and you’re Black, that is what it is. It shouldn’t be a movement. It should be a lifestyle. This is who we are. …
“I don’t like the word ‘movement’ because, unfortunately, in America and in society, there ain’t been no damn movement for us. There ain’t been no movement.”
A 16-time All-Star, James is averaging 25.7 points, 10.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds this season.
The Lakers are slated to open the restarted season on Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando. The Lakers currently are the top seed in the Western Conference, 5.5 games ahead of the Clippers.