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Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose insists he feels as though he made his point after wearing a “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt in support of Eric Garner.
Rose wore the t-shirt ahead of Saturday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors and received a warm response from fans and fellow players for his stance.
The 26-year-old explained that he just wanted to support the Garner family and make a statement about something he felt strongly about, but he went into further detail after Monday’s practice.
“I’m just happy that people paid attention to it,” Rose said. “I think it touched a lot of people because I grew up in an impoverished area like that, and sometimes [situations like that] happen a lot of times. It just touched a lot of people, and I just wanted to make sure that I got my point across.”
“I’m a parent now. Probably two years ago, it probably would have been different. I probably would not have worn the shirt. But now I’m a dad, it just changed my outlook on life, period. I don’t want my son growing up being scared of the police or even having that thought on his mind that something like that could happen.
“I have a cousin. That easily could have been him, or it easily could have been one of our relatives. It’s sad that people lost their lives over that.”
Rose has been outspoken about his desire to give back to the community in Chicago and it is something he is very passionate about after donating $1m to After School Matters earlier this year, a Chicago-based non-profit organisation that helps teenagers.
While the Bulls point guard has never previously taken such a public stance on political controversy or otherwise, it is clear that his mind-set has changed and he will be empowered by the experience.
Rose’s decision was well-received throughout the NBA as the likes of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and several Brooklyn Nets players followed in his footsteps and wore the same t-shirt on Monday night at the Barclays Center.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver admitted that he respected Rose’s decision to voice his personal view on important issues, but naturally his preference would be to see the players abide by the on-court attire rules.