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NBA stars shine a light on the police slaying of Breonna Taylor

With season re-start around the corner, top players don't want Louisville EMT's death to be forgotten.
NBA basketball player Russell Westbrook attends a Black Lives Matter protest in Compton, Calif., on June 7, 2020.
NBA basketball player Russell Westbrook attends a Black Lives Matter protest in Compton, Calif., on June 7, 2020.Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

With the NBA league re-start around the corner, some of the sport's top stars used their platforms this week to urge fans not to forget about the police killing of Breonna Taylor.

The league's first exhibition games were played in pro basketball's Orlando bubble, and, in what appeared to be a coordinated effort, players said more attention needs to be paid to Taylor, the EMT who was gunned down by Louisville, Kentucky police who barged into her home with a no-knock warrant March 13.

LeBron James, the NBA's most accomplished active player and one of the world's most famous athletes, on Thursday called on Kentucky authorities to arrest the officers who opened fire on Taylor.

"We want the cops arrested who committed that crime,” James said after his Los Angeles Lakers scrimmaged the Dallas Mavericks.

“As one of the leaders of this league, I want her family to know, and I want the state of Kentucky to know, that we feel for her, and we want justice. And that’s what it’s all about. What’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong. This is a wrong situation that’s going on in my eyes and a lot of other eyes not only here in America, but I bet in the world as well."

When Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George was asked about a nagging shoulder injury on Wednesday, he quickly pivoted to Taylor.

"Felt great, but I think most importantly, I take this time to give my condolences to the family of the Taylors, Breonna Taylor, rest in peace, George Floyd, rest in peace," the six-time NBA All-Star George told reporters.

"There are so many others out there that have been brutally murdered by the hands of police. That is all

The death of Floyd in Minneapolis prompted worldwide protest against police brutality and systemic racism. Taylor's earlier slaying, while also prompting protests, has flown slightly more under the radar.

Star Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell met with reporters after practice Wednesday night and immediately said that Taylor's slaying demanded justice.

“I want to continue to spread the message as we need justice for Breonna Taylor,” said Mitchell, who played college ball at the University of Louisville. “I think, you know, we all understand that she was killed in her own home. If there's a point where we can't feel safe in our home, that's not right.”

A Change.org petition demanding justice for Taylor had more than 10 million signatures by Thursday afternoon, the second-highest number in the website's history.

“African-American women are very far behind as far as the opportunities they receive,” Mitchell said. “Seeing that happen to an African American female is near and dear to my heart.”

Up-and-coming, second-year Toronto Raptors guard Terence Davis said his pro basketball colleagues are unwavering in their support of Taylor's family.

"We're united right now, just keeping a focus on Breonna Taylor's killer," Davis said Wednesday. "That's what I want to keep the focus on this week on what's really going on."

One Louisville police officer involved in that deadly March 13 incident has been fired, but there have been no arrests.

An investigation into Taylor's slaying by Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is still ongoing.

Shamar Walters and Associated Press contributed.