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NBA 2K20 adds ‘Black Lives Matter’ shirts after nationwide protests

Take Two took down its servers to honor George Floyd

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Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, right, and teammates wear “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during the national anthem before an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Ann Heise

Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, right, and teammates wear “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during the national anthem before an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014.

Ann Heisenfelt, Associated Press

NBA 2K20 took down its online mode Thursday to honor the legacy of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died when a white police officer knelt on his neck, and it released a new in-game shirt.

What’s going on:

  • NBA 2K20 — along with Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead, which are also owned by Take-Two — took down its servers for a couple of hours to honor Floyd. Users who entered online modes faced a screen that told them the online modes would go dark.
  • But an in-game clothing store — often used for the MyPlayer mode, where you control a custom-made player — now includes three new Black Lives Matter shirts to celebrated the movement and the nationwide protests against racial injustice, police brutality and Floyd’s death.
  • The shirts include Black Lives Matter, “I Can’t Breathe”and “Say Their Names.”
  • According to Kotaku, gamers wore their shirts and marched around the virtual basketball courts together.

Some context

  • “I Can’t Breathe” shirts made an appearance in the real-life NBA season back in 2014 after the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died after a chokehold was used by a police officer.
  • Stars such as Derrick Rose, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant wore the T-shirts back in 2014 to honor Garner and spread a message about the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • According to ESPN, James said at the time, “It’s more of a shoutout to the family, more than anything, because they’re the ones that should be getting all the energy and effort.”