Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, his teammate and All-Star guard Kyrie Irving as well as several Brooklyn Nets players wore "I Can't Breathe" t-shirts during warmups prior to their Dec. 8 game at Barclays Center. The shirts are in honor of Staten Island native Eric Garner, who died of cardiac arrest after an NYPD officer held him in an allegedly illegal chokehold in July.
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and several Brooklyn Nets players wore "I Can't Breathe" shirts during warmups prior to their game on Dec. 8 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Don't Miss: Sam's Club Black Friday 2016 Details
According to For the Win's Chris Strauss and Nate Scott, "I can't breathe" were the last words of the late Eric Garner, a New York City horticulturist who died of cardiac arrest in July after an NYPD officer put him in a chokehold. The incident was caught on video, with many detesting Garner's death.
An anonymous league source told USA TODAY's Sam Amick (via For The Win) that the NBA will not fine the players who wore the shirts. Among the Nets players who were seen wearing them in Strauss and Scott's update were Jarrett Jack, Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams.
James' teammate, Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, also wore the shirt and told For The Win he got it from Jack, his teammate at Cleveland last season:
"I think it's really important that we show our respect to the families. More importantly we're in the city where tragedy happened and it's really important to us that we stand up for a cause, especially this one. It hits close to home and means a lot to me.
"I was in contact with Jarrett Jack and I was like,'I want one of those shirts and I'm going to wear it.'
"I think more or less the condolences go out to the families. That's the most important thing. Things happen within the world that you can't necessarily control but for me standing up and taking it as my own and being part of something bigger than myself..it's just...what happened is a tragedy. I feel terrible about it but that's just my emotions more or less for the condolences for the families."
For his part, James, told For The Win the shirts are a "notion to the family":
"I don't know. It's not for us to figure out. It's just for us to understand what we're going through as a society. I've been forwarded over and over about what's been going on. This is more of a notion to the family more than anything. As a society we have to do better. But it's more of a shoutout to the family more than anything because they're the ones who should be getting the energy and effort."
The Northeast Ohio Media Group's Joe Vardon reported on Monday that hundreds of protesters were outside Barclays Center during the Cavaliers vs. Nets game. Photos of the protests -- which had the hashtag #royalshutdown as a reference to Prince William and Kate Middleton's attendance during the game -- went viral on Twitter.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski his sentiments about the controversial shirts on Monday:
Adam Silver continued: "...on important issues but my preference would be for players to abide by our on-court attire rules."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) December 9, 2014
The Cavaliers beat the Nets, 110-88, per Vardon's colleague, Chris Haynes.
For more of the hottest sports news, log on to Sport Balla today.
Don't Miss: Incredible Pokemon Gifts