NBA Players Make Breonna Taylor Case Focus of Media Calls


Several NBA stars in Orlando for the league's restart have continued to call for justice for a young Black woman who was killed in a police action.

Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in a no-knock police raid carried out at her home in Louisville, Kentucky, in March. The 26-year-old medical technician's senseless death became yet another tragic case that led to nationwide protests over police brutality and systemic racism.

Tobias Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers and Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers are just two of a handful of players who have used video conference calls with reporters to keep Taylor's case at the forefront, declining to answer on-court questions while instead offering condolences to Taylor's family and calling for accountability for her killers.

"We want to make sure that [Kentucky Attorney General] Daniel Cameron will arrest the cops and officers involved with Breonna Taylor's death," Harris said during a video call with a reporter. "That's all I got to say. That's going to be my answer for every question -- for Daniel Cameron to step up, and do what's right. That's the only message that I got today."

A recent protest outside Cameron's house resulted in the arrest of dozens of demonstrators, including Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills.

Stills, along with several stars athletes including LeBron James and Chris Paul, expressed his support for Harris.

George, now in his first season with the Clippers, struck a similar note as Harris when he was asked about an injury this week.

"Most importantly, I take this time to give my condolences to the Taylors. Breonna Taylor, rest in peace. George Floyd, rest in peace. There are so many others out there that have been brutally murdered at the hands of police. That's all I got, that's my message for everyone. And that will continue to be my answer."

Denver Nuggets forward Jerami Grant was among the first players to dedicate all of his media availability to discussing Taylor.

"It's great to be here with my teammates, great to be back playing basketball, but for me personally, and I think a lot of players, it's imperative that we focus on what is really important in the world," Grant said last week, according to ESPN. "One thing for me is Breonna Taylor's killers are still roaming around free, so I want to focus on that with these interviews and things like that. I want to keep the focus there."

Other players such as Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, Toronto Raptors standout rookie guard Terence Davis, Milwaukee Bucks wing Sterling Brown, and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart were among those to speak out.

A group representing the journalists who cover the league, the Pro Basketball Writers Association, have held discussions with the players association about holding separate media availability where players could specifically discuss matters of social justice, according to ESPN.

Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, who has posted calls for justice for Taylor on social media, rejected the idea.

"the moment you all want to hear is postgame so that’s when there needs to be social injustice conversation," Kuzma said on Twitter. "If it was a separate presser no one would pay attention."

A detective involved in Taylor's shooting was fired. Two other officers were placed on leave pending the investigation. The city of Louisville banned no-knock raids in the wake of the incident and subsequent protests.