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LeBron James follows D Rose’s lead with ‘I Can’t Breathe’ shirt

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts before Monday night’s game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Brooklyn Nets.

Derrick Rose drew national attention when he wore a similar shirt Saturday night before the Bulls played the Golden State Warriors.

James and Irving were joined by several members of the Nets, seen below standing with Jay Z, a former owner of the News.

“Obviously as a society we have to do better, we have to have empathy better for one another no matter what race you are, but it’s more a shout-out to the family more than anything,” James said before warming up.

“I can’t breathe” refers to the last words spoken by Eric Garner before he died while in a chokehold by a New York police officer. Last week, a grand jury decided not to indict the officer in Garner’s death. The phrase has become a popular rallying cry in protests across the country, including in Chicago.

Rose addressed the shirt Monday, largely crediting the birth of his son in 2012 as inspiration.

“I’m a parent now,” Rose said. “Probably two years ago, it probably would’ve been different. I probably wouldn’t have worn the shirt. But now that I’m a dad, it changed my outlook on life period.”

Telander: Derrick Rose’s nonverbal ‘I Can’t Breathe’ statement speaks volumes

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a short statement on Rose’s shirt –

I respect Derrick Rose and all of our players for voicing their personal views on important issues but my preference would be for players to abide by our oncourt attire rules.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.