However his answer had nothing to do with his time ahead of the league’s restart amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Instead, Grant stuck to one topic: Breonna Taylor’s death.
“I think it’s great to be here with my teammates,” Grant said, via the Denver Post. “It’s great to be back playing basketball. For me personally, and I think a lot of the players, I think it’s imperative that we focus on what’s really important in the world. One thing, for me, is Breonna Taylor’s killers still are roaming around free. I think I just want to focus on that with these interviews.”
He was then asked about star Nikola Jokic’s arrival, as he re-joined the team late after several delays.
“Like I said, it’s great to have my teammates here, it’s great to be here playing basketball, but at the same time, I want to keep the focus on what’s really important,” Grant said, via the Denver Post. “Breonna Taylor’s murderers still are roaming around free.”
Taylor’s death, just like George Floyd’s in Minneapolis police custody in May, has sparked widespread outrage and protests in recent months.
Taylor, a Louisville-area EMT, was shot and killed in her bed around midnight on March 13. Police had executed a no-knock search warrant at her apartment during a drug investigation, however the police accounts of the incident have been disputed ever since, according to The New York Times.
The NBA has several plans in place to help players speak out about social and racial justice throughout its restart near Orlando, Florida — including painting “Black Lives Matter” on the courts and allowing players to wear a pre-approved social justice message on the back of their jerseys.
Though the majority of players have opted to wear one of the messages instead of their last names, Grant decided not to. He’d “rather do it through his words.”
"[There's] a lot going on in the world right now with police brutality and racism and things like that, and I want to keep the focus on that," Grant said, via ESPN. "It's tough times. It has been this way for a long time. Basketball is something I love and something everybody loves, but at the same time we got to focus on what is important.”
Grant was averaging 11.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game this season when play was suspended, his first with the Nuggets.
Denver coach Michael Malone heard about Grant’s answers on Wednesday night, too, and was all for it.
"I respect Jerami doing that," Malone said, via ESPN. "It's a big point of emphasis from the league, from the coaches, the NBPA, coming down here. Making sure that we continue the conversation and keeping the spotlight where it needs to be. For Jerami to dedicate his press conference to the memory of the life of Breonna Taylor is outstanding, so I applaud him for that."
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