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LeBron savours Mamba Day with Lakers, sends prayers to family of Jacob Blake

By John Skilbeck

Orlando, August 25: LeBron James felt "blessed" to star on Mamba Day as the Los Angeles Lakers took a grip on their Western Conference first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers.

As he remembered Kobe Bryant, James also expressed renewed concern about the safety of African-American citizens in the United States following the shooting by police of Jacob Blake.

That incident on Sunday happened in Kenosha, a city close to Milwaukee, and James said his "prayers go to that family".

Wisconsin state investigators are looking into that incident to determine whether action should be taken against the officers involved.

On the court, James was imperious in grabbing a double-double of 30 points and 10 assists for the Lakers in their 135-115 win that established a 3-1 series lead.

He told NBA on TNT: "It's a wide range of emotions. I am extremely proud of my team, the way we played tonight."

Monday was designated Mamba Day in remembrance of Lakers great Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January - with the 8/24 date chosen to mark his uniform numbers.

"[I am] extremely blessed and honoured to be able to play on 8/24 and continue to remember Kobe Bryant and Gigi Bryant and all the fallen people that were a part of that tragic incident," James said.

"And at the same time having the emotions with what happened outside of Milwaukee with Jacob Blake. It's what we’ve been talking about and it's what we're going to continue to talk about.

"Having two boys of my own and me being African-American in America, and to see what continues to happen with the police brutality towards my kind, continue to see what goes on with the injustice - it's very troubling.

"We play a beautiful game which brings so many great families together and people should be able to rejoice and enjoy it.

"But at the same never lose track of what’s really happening in our world, especially here in America.

"My prayers go to that family and hopefully we can have some change."

Presidential elections are three months away in the US and James said he believes the time for change "starts in November".

"We have an opportunity to make change but it still doesn't stop there," he said, "even with whoever comes next."

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Story first published: Tuesday, August 25, 2020, 13:40 [IST]
Other articles published on Aug 25, 2020