LeBron James wasn’t among the many NBA players and coaches immediately denouncing the violent mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters swarming the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, but he was definitely watching.
James made his thoughts known on Thursday with a T-shirt and an Instagram post, both leading with the same question in all caps: “DO YOU UNDERSTAND NOW?” In smaller letters, the shirt also contained a slogan used by James in the past:
“In memoriam of the countless Black lives lost to police brutality and racial injustice.”
The Los Angeles Lakers star wore the shirt as he walked into Staples Center ahead of a game against the San Antonio Spurs.
The caption of James’ Instagram post explained what observers are supposed to understand after Wednesday’s deadly events, pointing out that even a violent mob of white people storming the Capitol wasn’t “chained, beaten, shot to death.” James said he believed people still don’t understand, summing up the situation as “2 AMERIKKKAS.”
DO YOU 🤬🤬🤬🤬 UNDERSTAND NOW???!! I know the answer to that. You still don’t cause no matter what happens you still won’t be judge, looked at crazy, chained, beaten, shot to death cause of the color of your skin!!!! 2 AMERIKKKAS we live in and it was at FULL CAPACITY LIVE IN DIRECT yesterday in our Nations CAPITAL AT THE CAPITAL!! 🤦🏾♂️😢😢😢. #IPrayForBetterDaysForMyPeople 🙏🏾✊🏾🖤👑
James’ Instagram story contained another mention of the dynamic, reposting a video clip from Udonis Haslem of MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid remembering her coverage of the 2014 Freddie Gray protests and the aggressive tactics used by Baltimore police against protesters.
James later took part in a demonstration with Lakers and Spurs players, locking arms at halfcourt during the national anthem:
The Lakers and Spurs are locking arms in a circle at halfcourt during the national anthem pic.twitter.com/fICtAd1NEb
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) January 8, 2021
Plenty in NBA agree with LeBron James
James’ posts echo what Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers was saying as the mob was scattering on Wednesday asking how the scene would have played out had it been Black people storming the Capitol.
Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown spoke out on Wednesday, too:
“It reminds me of what Dr. Martin Luther King said. In one America, you get killed while sleeping in your car, smoking cigarettes or playing in your backyard,” Brown said. “In another America, you get to storm the Capitol. No tear gas, no mass arrests. None of that. It’s obvious. It’s 2021, and I don’t think anything has changed.”
Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler had something similar to say after his game:
Miami’s Jimmy Butler echoed Brown: “We see the two different USAs that we live in. We came to the conclusion to hoop. But we know what it is. You can’t fool us. You’re not fooling nobody else. It’s just sad. Everybody sees it. Everybody knows it now. You can’t say you don’t understand it.”
By Wednesday night, D.C. police had announced four deaths, 52 arrests and at least 14 officers injured following the attack. The fallout has included the resignations of Capitol police chief Steven Sund and House sergeant-at-arms Paul Irving, as well as calls for the removal of Trump from the White House via impeachment or the 25th Amendment.
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