LeBron James, one of the NBA’s most social justice-oriented players, weighed in on both an officer-involved shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and subsequent riots, telling reporters Monday that the incidents took the joy out of playing basketball.
As the story broke Sunday, James tweeted that black men are being “targeted,” and Kenosha’s officer-involved shooting, which was captured in a now-viral video and has resulted in three nights of unrest across the state of Wisconsin, was “so wrong.”
“And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!! Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted,” James wrote. “This sh*t is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE.”
James has, of course, been a leading public voice for the Black Lives Matter movement, regularly tweeting and commenting on police shootings and the movement at large. In response to the death of Ahmaud Arbury, a black man who was attacked by several white men while walking through a neighborhood in Georgia, James tweeted that being “hunted.”
“We’re literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes!” James tweeted, per a Daily Wire report. “Can’t even go for a damn jog man!” continued the NBA star. “Like [what the f***] man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!? No man fr ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! I’m sorry Ahmaud (Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the […] heavens above to your family!!”
In response to George Floyd’s death while in the custody of the Minneapolis police department — a shocking incident that set off nationwide anti-racism protests — James urged his social media followers to “stay woke.”
Reporters asked James about Kenosha following the Los Angeles Lakers victory over the Portland Trailblazers Tuesday night, and LeBron noted that he was having difficulty concentrating on basketball in the midst of the situation.
“I can’t even enjoy a playoff win right now, which is the sad part,” James said. “We are scared as Black people in America,” James said. “Black men, Black women, Black kids. We are, we are terrified.”
Jacob Blake was shot after a confrontation with at least four police officers who were called to the scene to handle a domestic incident. Although it does not appear Blake was the subject of the call — witnesses say Blake was trying to de-escalate a fight between two women — officers identified Blake as having a warrant out for his arrest. During an ensuing altercation with officers, Blake is shown in the footage getting free from the grip of police and leaning into the open door of an SUV. In the video, an officer, holding Blake by his shirt, then appears to fire several shots as Blake’s back is turned.
Blake remains in critical condition in a Kenosha hospital. His family reported Monday that he is likely paralyzed.