CHICAGO – Speaking to reporters on Friday about the issues that have arisen since the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests wasn’t a first for Zach LaVine.
The Bulls guard already talked about it 24 hours earlier near his home in Washington state.
“I encouraged them to go vote,” said LaVine to reporters Friday what he told the crowd on Thursday. “I haven’t voted before, and that’s not doing my part in the community. So go out there and not just vote for the presidency, but things in your community as well.
“Because everything you vote for can make a change and put those people who are in power to hear your voice and help make that change as well.”
LaVine joins a chorus of athletes of all races who are joining calls to end systemic racism and police brutality against African-Americans in the wake of Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.
Active on Twitter on the issue, LaVine wasn’t afraid to talk about it during his end of season interview with Chicago media.
“I talk to my dad a lot. It’s a weird situation. I think the thing that we came to is that this has been going on for a long time,” said LaVine. “I think video cameras shed light on a lot of things that’s been going on with the world; police and different things like that.
“But I think now that we’re starting to get this platform for all athletes and entertainers to use our platform for good and I want to go out there and continue to share that as well.”
Teammate Thaddeus Young expressed his appreciation for the number of athletes and celebrities who’ve chosen to do so over the past two weeks.
“The good thing is that we do have that going on now and we’re bringing more and more people together,” said Young of those speaking out. “One of the biggest things is to continue to do that, continue to let our voices be heard. Continue to stay together, stay unified.”
At the same time, the veteran forward is making sure that the message is being shared at home with his children as well. These issues being discussed on a worldwide stage will be a part of his two son’s formative years, and Young feels the need to expose them to these realities.
“When they come up with a question, it’s very hard to answer that question because I don’t want them to have to grow up and fear for their lives or have to grow up and understand that they can’t do the same things that other people are doing,” said Young. “You want to give your kid the world. You want to get him to understand that ‘Hey, you can do whatever you want to do’, but in these times, it’s just not the same. You can’t do everything that somebody else is doing.
“If I’m going to be specific about it; the black kid, you can do everything that a white kid is doing. At the end of the day, those are the things that are very, very tough to talk about, but it’s a harsh reality and we have to talk about them. My kids are still young – six and nine – so they understand certain things that’s going on but not entirely everything.
“For me as a father, that’s one of the toughest conversations to ever have with their kids.”
But Thaddeus is having them. Zach is, too. So are many others around the country when it comes to issues whose length are measured in centuries.