The NBA community gathered in solidarity in wake of the alarming news surrounding the death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Memphis resident.
Nichols died at the hands of five Memphis police officers on Jan. 7, each of which now faces second-degree murder charges along with charges of aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression, per ESPN. The incident took place after Nichols was pulled over while he drove back to his home, which he shared with his mother and stepfather. He was then taken to the hospital where he spent three days before his death on Jan. 10.
Video footage of the graphic incident was released on Friday.
That sparked an emotions-filled reaction from across the NBA, including from the Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves who both released statements that promoted the #JusticeForTyre message.
While five NBA games took place throughout the night, the league also released a statement in support of Nichols, his family, friends and the community of Memphis.
The images of Tyre Nichols’ life needlessly cut short are horrifying. While there have been steps toward accountability in this instance, the NBA family remains committed to partnering with advocates, policymakers and law enforcement to work toward solutions to the issues we continue to face. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mr. Nichols, the entire Memphis community and those who are affected by these tragic images and loss.
Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins spoke on the horrifying passing pregame before the Grizzlies took the floor against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Before tipoff, a moment of silence was held at Target Center in Nichols’ memory.
“I know there’s not enough time in the day to share what’s on my heart and my mind right now,” Jenkins told Bally Sports on Friday. “Our team understands that our city’s hurting, the Nichols and Wells families hurting right now. The senseless loss of life for Tyre Nichols really hit us hard.
“I watched the interview with the family today and hearing Mrs. Wells talk with so much strength and positivity and love, was powerful. It invoked a lot of emotions. I cried. … I wanna continue to encourage people to put their arms around each other, put their arms around the Nichols family, the Wells family, to remember a beautiful life in Tyre Nichols — who I did not know, but I’m learning about. … We’re here again sadly with a loss of life to police brutality.”
Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra began his pregame press conference by offering his reaction before Miami faced off against the Orlando Magic at Miami-Dade Arena.
“This is just crazy to Tyre Nichols and to Tyre Nichols’ family,” Spoelstra told reporters, per LockedOn Heat writer Wes Goldberg. “It just sounds horrifying and we’re bracing ourselves.”
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who has spoken out against the social injustices in America on several occasions, offered a strong six-worded reaction.
“WE ARE OUR OWN WORST ENEMY,” James wrote on Twitter.