LeBron James and the NBA were quick to speak out following Derek Chauvin’s conviction for George Floyd’s murder.
NBA officials and players reacted swiftly after former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the United States of murdering George Floyd.
Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts: second degree accidental murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter, after a ten-hour jury deliberation.
Last May, the videotaped final moments of Floyd’s life prompted demonstrations around the world, most notably in the NBA, where players demonstrated against racial inequality and police violence.
Almost immediately following Wednesday’s verdict, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts issued a joint statement.
“George Floyd’s murder was a watershed moment in our country’s discussion of race and justice, and we are relieved that justice seems to have been served,” the statement read.
“However, we recognize that more work remains to be done, and the National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association, in collaboration with our newly established Social Justice Coalition, will redouble our efforts to fight for positive reform in criminal justice and policing.”
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, who has been a leader in sport when it comes to speaking out against racism, did not tweet a single word after the verdict’s announcement. He said, “ACCOUNTABILITY.”
Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves also responded.
“Impartiality and Accountability! Things I never imagined seeing,” he tweeted. “There is far more work to be done, but this is an incredible step toward the reforms this country so desperately needs!”
Additionally, the Timberwolves issued a statement in which they stated: “Throughout our history, ethnic and social disparities have been entrenched in our community. We hope that today’s decision represents a move forward, but it does not alleviate the physical and emotional anguish that continues to occur in an atmosphere marked by institutional racism.”
When video of Chauvin forcibly inserting his knee into Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes went viral last year, it sparked protests. The NBA was suspended due to COVID-19, but when play resumed in its bubble, teams were permitted to wear social justice symbols such as “Equality” on their jerseys. Each game featured a Black Lives Matter mural on the court.
“God is always good,” Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell tweeted.
Jamal Crawford, a former NBA player, wrote: “Accountability…. RIP George Floyd. “However, the fact that we all saw what we saw last year and STILL were nervous about whether he will be kept responsible demonstrates how far we all have to go…”