After a grand jury decided Wednesday not to to charge Louisville Metro police officers with killing Breonna Taylor, LeBron James wanted to send a message to Black women.
“The most DISRESPECTED person on earth is THE BLACK WOMAN!” James tweeted Wednesday. “I promise you I’ll do my best to change this as much as I can and even more!! LOVE to you QUEENS all over this country and beyond!”
James then wrote out the names of some of his loved ones, including his grandmother, mother and daughter, among others.
“Grandma Freda, Gloria Marie, Savannah Rachael, Zhuri Ann Marie Nova I LOVE YOU MY BLACK QUEENS more than life itself!!” he wrote. “Mema Brinson, Deidra Norris, Pam Walker, Tanesha Walker, Chanelle Walker, Brenda Weems, Caddie Powers I LOVE YOU Queens!!!”
After the Lakers’ 114-108 win over the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday, a reporter asked James what protecting Black women means to him.
“I think at the end of the day, respect,” James said. “You just look at the history of America and the disrespect that Black women have gotten for the last 400 years. You can’t turn a blind eye to that. When I look at my household and see my daughter who is five, on her way to six, my wife and my mom, rest in peace my grandmother, so many Black women have done so many things for me. Seeing the sacrifices they made, especially my mom when I was growing up. They were disrespected along the way. And it’s still like that today.”
James, who has advocated for the officers involved in Taylor’s death to be arrested since arriving in the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World in June, acknowledged feeling “devastated, hurt, sad, mad” after Taylor didn’t get the justice he thought she deserved.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician, was shot by Louisville Metro Police officers March 13 in her apartment in a botched raid.
On Wednesday, a grand jury in Kentucky indicted former officer Brett Hankison for wanton endangerment, but none of the three officers who shot her were indicted for her death.
“In the case of Breonna Taylor’s case, it’s just shown once again that the walls of the neighbor is more important than her life,” James said. “So not only did I want to acknowledge all the queens in this world, all the Black queens in this world, but the ones in my life, the personal ones, too. I just kind of had a moment yesterday. I mean, I have a lot of moments, but felt like it was important to let Black women know that you’re not alone. No matter the disrespect or what they may feel, don’t stop. Because that’s exactly what they want you guys to do. They want you guys to stop. They want you guys not to be as powerful as you guys are, not as strong as you guys are, as determined as you guys are. They want you all to be at bay. They want you to accept what’s going on. For sure, I won’t allow that.”
Following the decision in Taylor’s case, James said players never discussed not playing in Thursday’s game.
He added that they were crushed, but not taken aback.
“Can’t say that we were surprised at the verdict,” he said. “None of us are surprised at it. That’s what’s more devastating, that none of us were surprised at what the outcome was.”
James vowed to continue fighting for Black women.
And in light of Wednesday’s news, he wanted to take a moment to let them know he’s behind them.
“When they are feeling down or feeling like there’s no journey for them or gateway to be heard or to be seen or be respected or be accepted, my job is to continue to let them know that they are,” James said. “They are important to everything that goes on, not only in America but in the world.”