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12/10/2014 12:23 am ET Updated Dec 10, 2014

Kobe Bryant, Lakers Teammates Wear 'I Can't Breathe' T-Shirts

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Kobe Bryant and several of his Los Angeles Lakers teammates became the latest athletes to wear T-shirts emblazoned with the words "I Can't Breathe" in solidarity with those protesting the police killing of Eric Garner.

The Lakers players wore the shirts during pre-game warmups before their game against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

"I think if we ever lose the courage to be able to speak up for things that we believe in, I think we really lose the value that our country stands for," Bryant said after the game, via The Associated Press. "It's important that we have our opinions. It's important that we stand up for what we believe in. We all don't have to agree with it, and that's completely fine. That's what makes this a beautiful country."

The official Twitter account of the Lakers shared a photograph and video of Bryant and his teammates wearing the T-shirts during warm-ups.

Before the team took the floor at the Staples Center, Lakers forward Carlos Boozer shared a photo of one of the T-shirts draped over his chair in the team's locker room. He posted the image on Instagram with the message: #icantbreathe #saysitall.

🙏 #icantbreathe #saysitall

A photo posted by Carlos Boozer (@mrcbooz) on

The participating Lakers players joined a growing number of professional athletes, including NBA stars LeBron James and Derrick Rose, who have worn similar shirts since a grand jury declined to indict a New York City police officer in Garner's death.

"I Can't Breathe" were Garner's last words as captured in a bystander's video. He died on July 17 in Staten Island after the officer put him in a chokehold during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes.

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