NBA Players, Superstars Wearing “I Can’t Breathe” T-Shirts

NBA stars wear 'I Can't Breathe' t-shirts

On July 17th, 2014, Eric Garner was placed in an chokehold for nearly 20 seconds by officer Daniel Pantaleo of the New York Police Department.

While Pantaleo had his arm around Garner’s neck, the 43-year old African-American father of six was taken to the ground by multiple police officers. As the officers “restrained” Garner, he could be heard saying “I can’t breathe!” multiple times. After an hour at the hospotal, Garner was pronounced dead.

The city’s medical examiners determined the cause of death was “neck compression” and “the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.”

Even with video evidence, what was considered an illegal chokehold, Pantaleo did not have to face charges after a Grand Jury decided not to indict the officer. Since then, Garner’s final words have repeated throughout the country as a rallying cry for social justice and to bring awareness. Those three words have been all over the country as protests, “die-ins”, and rallies have formed all over the nation.

NBA Superstars Wearing “I Can’t Breathe” Shirts

And in the last week, many NBA players have joined the cause. Players across the league have shown their support, not by protesting on the street, but by wearing the “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during their pre-game warm-ups. This simple move provides invaluable visibility that will keep conversations going.

It all started with Derrick Rose on Saturday, December 6th. Rose wore the simple, black t-shirt while shooting around before the Chicago Bulls faced the Golden State Warriors:

Derrick Rose I Can't Breathe T-Shirt

Then during the royals visit to Brooklyn, Lebron James, Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams, and Alan Anderson (and Jay-Z) all wore the t-shirts.

LeBron James I Can't Breathe T-Shirt

Kyrie Irving I Can't Breathe T-Shirt

Kevin Garnett Deron Williams I can't Breathe

On December 9th, Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Jeremy Lin and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers (except Robert Sacre) wore them before their game over the Sacramento Kings:

Kobe Bryant wearing I can't breathe t-shirt


Jeremy Lin wearing  I can't breathe shirt

Carlos Boozer wearing I can't breathe t-shirt

Lakers wearing I can't breathe boozer nick young Jeremy Lin

Then on Thursday, December 11th, the Sacramento Kings followed suit as many players on the team, including Rudy Gay, Ramon Sessions, Ryan Hollins and Nik Stauskas put on the “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts during warm-ups, kept them on through the national anthem, and continued wearing the shirts on the bench.

Rudy Gay Ramon Sessions I Can't Breathe

Sacramento Kings I can't breathe

Ben McLemore I can't breathe

Rudy Gay Nik Stauskas I can't breathe

Also during Thursday’s games — five players on the Portland Trailblazers wore the “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts: Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, Will Barton and Dorell Wright wore the shirts through the national anthem and through introductions.

Damien Lillard I can't breathe

Portland Trail Blazers wear I can't breathe t-shirts

It may seem like a simple action to put on a shirt, but as the New York Times reported: it wasn’t as simple as one would assume. Much work had to be done to get the shirts made in a short period of time, passed security, within the strict NBs guidelines, and into the hands of the NBA players. The Net’s Jarrett Jack was integral in the campaign.

Here’s the full list of players that have wore the “I Can’t Breathe” shirts:

  • Derrick Rose
  • LeBron James
  • Kyrie Irving
  • Kevin Garnett
  • Alan Anderson
  • Deron Williams
  • Jarrett Jack
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Jordan Hill
  • Jeremy Lin
  • Nick Young
  • Ed Davis
  • Ronnie Price
  • Jordan Clarkson
  • Carlos Boozer
  • Wayne Ellington
  • Wesley Johnson
  • Damian Lillard
  • Rudy Gay
  • Ben McLemore
  • LaMarcus Aldridge
  • Ryan Hollins
  • Nik Stauskas
  • Dorell Wright
  • Ramon Sessions
  • Eric Moreland
  • Wesley Matthews
  • Will Barton

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