Thunder star Chris Paul wasted no time in delivering an impactful message following Monday’s Game 4 win over the Rockets.
Paul immediately used his stage during the postgame interview with TNT’s Stephanie Ready to speak out on the Jacob Blake shooting that occurred in Kenosha, Wisc., over the weekend; a graphic video released late Sunday showed two Wisconsin police officers firing seven shots into Blake’s back as he attempted to get into his SUV after he reportedly tried to de-escelate a fight between two other people. His three children, aged 3, 5 and 8, were in the vehicle.
Below is Paul’s entire 36-second remark following his team’s 117-114 win over Houston, which evened the first-round series at two games apiece:
Ready: “The series is tied now. What did you find at the end of this game that helped you guys pull away?”
Paul: “I don’t know. That’s all good and well. I just want to send my prayers out to Jacob Blake and their family. The things we decided to come down here to play for, and we said we’re going to speak on the social injustice and the things that continue to happen to our people. It’s not right. It’s not right. So the win is good, but voting is real. I’m going to challenge all my NBA guys, other sports guys: Let’s try to get our entire teams registered to vote. There’s a lot of stuff going on in the country. You know, sports — it’s cool, it’s good and well, that’s how we take care of our families. But those are the real issues that we’ve got to start addressing.”
Several NBA players — and the league itself — have been outspoken after the return to play in the Orlando, Fla., bubble.
All of the courts feature the message “Black Lives Matter,” and players are allowed to put social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys. (Paul’s jersey says “Equality.”) Prior to his team’s Game 1 loss to the Trail Blazers on Tuesday, Lakers forward LeBron James wore a modified MAGA hat calling for police to be held accountable in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky.
Paul’s statement is just the latest such instance of professional athletes speaking out on issues of racial injustice, spurred by national protests after the deaths of Black individuals at the hands of police.
As of Monday evening, Blake reportedly remained in stable condition at a Milwaukee hospital. The police officers who shot him were placed on administrative leave earlier in the day.