After the Los Angeles sports community shared heartfelt messages on social media following the deadly shooting in nearby Thousand Oaks, California, NBA teams and players paid their respects to the shooting victims and their families with t-shirts with a simple, but strong message standing tall against gun violence.
On Saturday, players from the Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks wore a black t-shirt with “ENOUGH.” on the front and a the names of all 12 victims from the senseless mass shooting at Borderline Bar & Grill. The Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks wore similar shirts at the Staples Center on Sunday night.
“We stand in unity to pay our respects to the 12 Angelenos who lost their lives and all those affected by this senseless tragedy,” the Clippers posted in a video on social media. “The entire Clippers organization is heartbroken, and in solidarity with you, our fans, and the nation. We at the Clippers are using our collective voice right now to tell the world that gun violence is never okay. We have had enough.”
It was only a matter of time before the LA sports teams paid tribute to victims and they did it in a very powerful way.
The Clippers, who had a moment of silence before Saturday’s game, have now made the shirts available for sale with “100 percent of the net proceeds benefitting the families of the victims of the Thousand Oaks tragedy through the Ventura County Community Foundation.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver supports the decision for the players to wear the shirts, too.
“As I’ve always said, our players aren’t just ballplayers, they’re citizens,” Silver told ESPN. “They have strong feelings about what’s happening in society and they react to them. I think this was something that was a groundswell within the league. It came from the players and it spread by word of mouth from one team to another.”
“It obviously began here in California and other teams around the league supported them,” Silver continued. “Again, I support our players’ desire to speak out on issues that are important to them and important to society.”
Lakers superstar forward LeBron James even shared his reaction and thoughts on the Thousand Oaks shooting following an 107-106 win late Sunday night:
“Probably the same that went through everybody’s mind: ‘Not again.’ Or: ‘Wow. What the hell?’ Probably some more explicit terms that I won’t say right here. It’s just how do we clean up this. … It all comes back to this gun situation that we have in America and gun violence. I don’t want to go into that right now, but I can do it at a later point. We know that these people are just being able to go and buy guns and do things with them, and innocent lives are being taken at young ages. Young ages.
“You know, when I was younger we didn’t really have to worry about gun violence too much. I mean, if you had a problem with somebody you kind of fist it out and move on. And now, it’s like people are like shooting it out and don’t even have a problem with somebody. They just got a problem with themselves or a problem with the situation that they’re in.
“It’s just very troubling times for everyone and for parents. It’s just how can you be comfortable with sending your kids to school or sending them to church or sending them to the movies or sending them to the mall? Those are kind of like the great havens when I was growing up: school, church, go to the mall, go to a sporting event. That was like heaven. You know? And it’s kind of scary at this point and time.” — LeBron James
There is no way to undo such a terrible tragedy with the Thousand Oaks shooting, but you better believe players in the NBA, and across all professional sports, will make sure their voices are heard in standing tall against gun violence.