LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — LeBron James arrived for the Los Angeles Lakers‘ 116-108 win over the Utah Jazz on Monday — a game that clinched the franchise’s first No. 1 seed in the Western Conference in a decade — in a black T-shirt meant to address a message bigger than basketball.
On the front, in white screen print, there was a stopwatch showing the time 8:46 on its face, with “Minneapolis” printed below it. On the back there were several stopwatches — all frozen on 8:46 — with various city names below them, including New York, Houston, Tokyo and Paris. Below the stopwatches there was a message: “The World is Watching This Time.”
James donned the T-shirt hours after body camera video surfaced of George Floyd’s arrest on May 25, before he was killed while in custody of the Minneapolis police.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died after officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneeled on his neck while Floyd repeatedly expressed his inability to breathe. It was initially reported that the amount of time Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck was 8 minutes, 46 seconds, but prosecutors have since said the time was 7:46.
James said he had not watched the nearly 10 minutes of body camera footage that was published Monday by the Daily Mail — in which Floyd has a gun pointed at him just six seconds after officers knock on the window of his vehicle while the ignition is off and his hands are up — but he intends to.
James’ shirt was designed by Sloan and Bennett and commissioned by Klutch Sports, the agency that represents James. Sloan and Bennett is a Black-owned business founded by James Patrick Christopher, a former professional basketball player overseas and in the G League who is from Compton, California.
“You think about 8 minutes and 46 seconds, an officer having his knee on someone’s throat for that long. Video or no video, it doesn’t matter,” James said. “No one deserved to lose their life when it could have been prevented from wh