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NBA star Stephen Jackson leads global revolt to get justice for friend George Floyd

Former NBA player Stephen Jackson says George Floyd, his long-time friend, could have easily played professionally if he had more opportunities. Since last month, Jackson has become the unforeseen spokesperson for the Floyd family and the Black Lives Matter movement.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: June 11, 2020 6:59:23 pm
Stephen Jackson Stephen Jackson met George Floyd in the 1990s, a few years before being picked in the NBA. (File Photo/AFP)

Stephen Jackson met George Floyd in the mid-1990s, a few years before he was picked up by the Phoenix Suns in the NBA. The two bonded immediately over their facial resemblance — they referred to each other as their twin — and would spend many years spending time “in the same neighborhoods, in the same cars, doing the same things.”

Jackson had an illustrious career in the NBA till 2013/14, helping out his friend George on several occasions, even though their life took opposite directions since their youths.

“The only difference between me and George Floyd, the only difference between me and my twin, is the fact that I had more opportunities. If George would have had more opportunities, he might have been a pro athlete in two sports,” Jackson told New York Times on Thursday.

Jackson has returned to the spotlight since last month after the killing of George Floyd in police custody, becoming an unforeseen spokesperson for the Floyd family and the Black Lives Matter protests.

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“If I can stand up for a change in the world and everybody coming together and standing together and making history with protests and knocking some doors down to get social justice and change some of these laws — if the President ain’t going to do it, hey, I’ll stand up and do it,” Jackson said.

After days of appearing in public protests, making social media posts and giving television interviews to continue the campaign — including a passionate May 29 speech at Minneapolis City Hall — Jackson was in attendance at Floyd’s funeral this week, sitting near his deceased friend’s six-year-old daughter.

Saying that fellow professionals from the NBA – including the likes of LeBron James – have lent him support, Jackson says being at the centre of the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA feels like the “biggest game” of his life.

Jackson says he thinks of himself as being in Floyd’s shoes at the moment of his death, not just because of their facial resemblance.

“It easily could have been me down there: Just let me get pulled over by an officer who’s having a bad day and don’t like the fact that I’m in a nice car,” he said.

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