The Minnesota Timberwolves dedicated their game ball to George Floyd’s family following a 134-120 win over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
The gesture was made just hours after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the murder of Floyd in Minneapolis last May.
“I think for all of us, we all felt that this game was bigger than basketball,” Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns said after the game, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell. “This was a moment that wasn’t meant for us, this was meant for our city and for George Floyd’s family. I think everyone in America right now is grieving with them and sending our prayers, blessings and love towards them.”
Towns also said after the game that he had been nervous throughout the day because of the uncertainty regarding the verdict, adding that he had to take a shower because he was sweating so much.
The NBA issued a statement earlier in the week telling teams to prepare for the impact of the verdict, adding that games could be postponed.
“I was worried. I was worried for our community. I was worried for if justice was going to be served. I was worried about all the family our team has, every player, and wondering if their safety was going to be guaranteed tonight and how they would feel. On our team, we’ve got guys who have kids, who are kids of color, wondering if we’re going to show them if the word accountability actually lives in the world we live in today.”
While many are relieved that justice was served, several professional sports teams and leagues acknowledged that there is still a lot to be done. The NBA and NBPA released a statement saying they will “redouble our efforts to advocate for meaningful change in the areas of criminal justice and policing.”