Derrick Rose wore a t-shirt reading "I Can't Breathe" before the Chicago Bulls' loss to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, but declined to speak to reporters after the game. At practice on Monday, Rose spoke at length about his decision to wear the t-shirt.
"I had the shirt made, my best friend Randall brought it to the game, and I decided to wear it," Rose said. "It wasn't any one [person's] idea, I just thought I wanted to support something that happened. That's what made me wear the shirt."
"I Can't Breathe" were the last words of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old New York man who was choked to death by a New York City police officer in July. The incident drew national headlines last week when it was announced the police officer would not face criminal charges.
"I grew up and I saw it every day," Rose said. "Not killing or anything like that, but I saw the violence every day. Just seeing what can happen. If anything, I'm just trying to change the kids' minds across the nation and it starts here."
"I'm a parent now," Rose said. "I had a kid two years ago. It probably would have been different [before his son was born]. I probably wouldn't have worn the shirt. But now that I'm a dad, it's just changed my outlook on life, period.
Rose's statement drew praise from around the league, including from LeBron James. James said he may wear a similar shirt when the Cleveland Cavaliers face the Brooklyn Nets in New York on Monday. James is no stranger to social commentary himself, previously posing for a photo with the Miami Heat following the death of Trayvon Martin.
Read Tom Ziller's piece on Rose's decision to wear the t-shirt. Chicago plays the Nets at home on Wednesday.