Rockets Thabo Sefolosha speaks on tragic death of George Floyd

Thabo Sefolosha #18 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Thabo Sefolosha #18 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Like the rest of us, Houston Rockets forward Thabo Sefolosha was horrified upon seeing the tragic death of Houston native George Floyd.

We’ve all seen the viral video, which shows Houston-native George Floyd being killed at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department. Floyd was helplessly pinned down to the ground by officer Derek Chauvin, which has sparked protest and outrage globally. On Sunday, the Houston Rockets spoke about the incident, as did NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

Riots have ensued as a result of the unnecessary use of force towards Floyd, and the city of Houston hasn’t been immune to that either. Houston Police Department chief Art Acevedo has joined the protesters, stating that he’s happy to see the people protesting the injustice by the hands of law enforcement, so long as they remain peaceful.

We’ve also heard Houston mayor Sylvester Turner echo the same sentiments, that people have every right to be frustrated, but must be sure to keep the protests peaceful. Houston Rockets forward Thabo Sefolosha was the latest to speak out about the incident, while allowing us all to tap into the emotions Sefolosha felt upon seeing the tragic death of Floyd.

“I was just horrified by what I saw,” Sefolosha said. “That could have been me.”

“People talk about a few rotten apples,” Sefolosha said. “But you know, in my experience and from what we’re seeing, I think it’s deeper than that as a culture that’s deeply rooted in it, to be honest. That’s just my honest opinion. I think it’s really . . . part of a culture where it’s deeper than just a few bad apples.”

I’m mad, for sure,” Sefolosha said. “That’s for sure. I mean, it’s 2020. Nobody should have to go through this in this time, especially after black people have given up so much for America. Black people have given up so much and done so much for this country. It’s hurtful to see it this way.”

Houston Rockets forward Thabo Sefolosha shares his thoughts on the George Floyd tragedy.

For Sefolosha, the incident brings back painful memories, as he too has been a victim of racial injustice by the hands of the shield, whose employees hold the primary mission to protect and serve. Sefolosha was stabbed in a nightclub fiasco back in 2015, but things escalated when the New York Police Department arrived on the scene.

At that point, Sefolosha was attacked by several of the NYPD’s officers as they were arresting him, which is what ensued in Minneapolis prior to Floyd being pinned to the ground, stating that he couldn’t breathe. Sefolosha suffered a broken leg in the incident and was charged by the NYPD, although the charges were later dismissed.

Sefolosha initially sued the department for $50 million, before later agreeing upon a lesser amount of $4 million. Although the incident took place five years ago, it’s had a life-long affect on the Houston Rockets reserve.

“It changed me a lot, toward the way I see law enforcement in this country,” Sefolosha said. “And also toward the way I see the whole justice system. I went to court and I had to do all of this to prove my innocence. It really got me deep into the system and I’m really skeptical of the whole system.”

Sefolosha shares the same frustrations as many others, as they’ve simply lost the ability to trust the “boys in blue.” This has significantly affected the lives of everyone, and Sefolosha is right on many fronts.

These horrific incidents shouldn’t be still happening in 2020, and it’s easy to understand why he feels it’s deep rooted in a culture. A culture that has seemingly de-emphasized the lives of an entire population, based largely on their genetic make-up, of which they have no control over.

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Sefolosha is also right on an even larger front: that could have been him, or any of us for that matter. What’s even more scary about this is that it could very well end up being any of us. It’ll be on law enforcement to make sure these incidents don’t continue to happen.