The Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks followed in the footsteps of the Clippers and Milwaukee Brewers by wearing t-shirts to remember the Thousand Oaks mass shooting victims. On the back were the names of those who passed away, while the front read “Enough.”
Lakers public address announcer Lawrence Tanter also read the names of the lives lost in the shooting, and a moment of silence followed. The senseless act unfortunately signaled the start of what’s been a difficult stretch in Southern California.
While the Thousand Oaks community was hardly beginning to grieve and cope with what took place, citizens from there and surrounding areas were forced to evacuate because of wildfires that have burned hundreds of homes.
For the Lakers’ involvement, head coach Luke Walton, who previously extended his condolences and prayers, was hopeful wearing the t-shirts would make a strong impact.
“It’s powerful when it comes from people that a lot of people around the world look up to. It brings social awareness,” he said. “I think when you have kids and are concerned about where our world is going sometimes, it’s nice to see people trying to stand up and bring awareness to things and not just let it slide into yesterday’s news.”
Not one to shy away from social issues, LeBron James eloquently discussed the importance of the Lakers publicly demonstrating their support. “I think it’s about recognizing what’s going on in society. First of all, my prayers and condolences to all the families that lost loved ones in an act none of us ever want to be a part of, obviously, but never want to hear about,” James said.
“For us to have a commissioner like we have, to even allow us to do something like this, No. 1, that’s amazing. That’s why we all love Adam. And then for us to recognize a very troubling time but also recognizing that we’re here for the families in spirit and support.”
When asked what his reaction was to the mass shooting, James got more personal. “Probably the same that went through everybody’s mind. ‘Not again,’ or ‘Wow,’ ‘What the hell.’ Probably some more explicit terms that I won’t say right here. It’s just how do we clean up this — it all comes back to this gun situation that we have in America and gun violence,” he said.
“I definitely don’t want to go into that right now but I can do it at a later point. We know that these people are just being able to go and buy guns and do things with them and innocent lives are being taken at young ages. When I was younger, we didn’t really have to worry about gun violence too much. If you had a problem with somebody you kind of fist it out and move on. Now, it’s like people are like shooting it out and don’t even have a problem with somebody. They just got a problem with themselves or a problem with the situation they’re in.
“It’s just very troubling times for everyone. For parents, it’s just, how can you be comfortable with sending your kids to school or sending them to church or sending them to the movies or sending them to the mall? Those are kind of like the great havens when I was growing up. School, church, go to the mall, go to a sporting event. That was like heaven, you know? It’s kind of scary at this point and time.”
The Lakers have since made the shirts available for purchase, with 100 percent of the net proceeds benefitting the families of the victims through the Ventura County Community Foundation.