The Grizzlies and Timberwolves honored Tyre Nichols with a moment of silence on Friday while Taylor Jenkins grappled with the tragedy in Memphis.
The city of Memphis is dealing with something no city ever wants to have to face: An inexcusable incident of police brutality resulting in a senseless death.
Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old from Memphis, died on Jan. 10, three days after he was brutally beaten by five police officers who pulled him over two minutes from his home. The city, which recently charged the officers with second-degree murder, released body cam and surveillance video of the incident on Friday night prompting protests across Memphis.
On a road trip in Minnesota, the Grizzlies did what they could to honor Nichols and speak out on an unspeakable tragedy.
Grizzlies honor Tyre Nichols with moment of silence & pre-game statements
There was a moment of silence ahead of the game against the Timberwolves with Nichols’ image projected on the video board.
The team released a statement earlier in the day in advance of the release of the video.
“We are distraught to find ourselves dealing with a needless loss of life due to police brutality, and this time it was one of Memphis’s own. We’re thinking of the Nichols family and friends, and share the pain being felt throughout our community. So, let’s support each other and respect how our fellow Memphians are coping. We have faith in this city and our power to heal.
“To the Nichols family and friends, we offer our deepest sympathies and condolences for your loss. #JusticeForTyre.”
Taylor Jenkins, Jaren Jackson Jr. assured Memphis the Grizzlies are with the city
Forward Jaren Jackson Jr. tweeted about Nichols and the pain the city is going through.
“To the Nichols family, my teammates and I are and have been paying attention. We are with you,” Jackson wrote. “To Memphis, we are hurting, too. Peaceful protest, supporting the family, pushing for accountability are what’s needed in this moment.”
Before the game began, head coach Taylor Jenkins did his best to express his feelings.
“Our team understands that our city’s hurting,” Jenkins said. “It’s been tough being on the road, not being home, and I wish I could extend my arms through this camera right now to the family.”
Jenkin’s praised Nichols’ mother, who spoke at a press conference on Friday, admitting that her words brought him to tears.
He also acknowledged the responsibilities the Grizzlies have as a unifying force in Memphis.
“Our city has great soul. Our city has love for each other. This is obviously a tough moment for our city,” Jenkins said. “…But we will get through it…We’re going to do this with a heavy heart but also remembering a beautiful life that was lost.”
NBA players reacted to Tyre Nichols video release
Jenkins addressed the media before the video was released. In the aftermath, the NBA released a statement addressing its disturbing contents.
“The images of Tyre Nichols’ life needlessly cut short are horrifying. While there have been steps toward accountability in this instance, the NBA family remains committed to partnering with advocates, policymakers and law enforcement to work toward solutions to the issue we continue to face. Our thoughts are with family and friends of Mr. Nichols, the entire Memphis community and those who are affected by these tragic images and loss.”
Suns guard Chris Paul also weighed in on an emotional night.
“Change is needed at all levels and we all need to do our part,” Paul tweeted. “We can’t lose our humanity as a society. To the Nichols’ family and Memphis community, my heart is with you tonight.”
Elliott Perry, who played at Memphis in college and for the Grizzlies in the NBA, had a visceral response to the video.
“I just watched what was extremely hard to stomach,” Perry wrote. “This is definitely not acceptable and it is absolutely INHUMANE!!! NO ONE Deserves that kind of treatment under any circumstance. Tyre Nichols laid there for what felt like an hour and there was NO URGENCY TO ASSIST HIM…Let’s continue to be in PRAYER for TYRE and his Family, but Let’s Not let these officers OFF THE HOOK!!!!! PRISON PERIOD!!!!”
The Grizzlies lost to the Timberwolves 111-100 but basketball was far from mind for many in Memphis and around the country on Friday night.