Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
December 9, 2014

Almost as Striking as LeBron’s “I Can’t Breathe” T-Shirt in Brooklyn Last Night? The “Ferguson Jump Rope."

As much as the sports and political world was atwitter last night (pro and con) about LeBron James’s political gesture in Brooklyn, his warm up ritual presented the strangest optic. I’m sure you saw Bob Staake’s eloquent cover of the New Yorker a few weeks back as a commentary on America’s Ferguson trauma? The illustration presents the arch in St. Louis composed in two pieces, one black and one white, broken in the middle.

Given the t-shirt, and also listening to LaBron after the game describe the motivation for the action, it’s clear his focus was on Eric Garner, his death from the chokehold inflicted by the NYPD, and the loss experienced by his family.

By pure coincidence, and the serendipitous nature of his warm up routine, however (given how a photograph can turn a few seconds with a jump rope into a moment frozen in time), the shape of the piece of gear seemed to frame LeBron’s protest as a Ferguson echo too.

photo 1: AP. caption: Statement: LeBron James took the opportunity of worldwide attention to wear an Eric Garner tribute t-shirt. illustration: Bob Stacke for The New Yorker)

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