ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — In the scorching heat in downtown Rochester, over 200 people joined local NBA Draft prospects Isaiah Stewart and Quinton Rose as they dribbled each dribbled a basketball for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to protest systematic racism and remember the lives lost to police brutality.
“8 minutes and 46 seconds. That’s a long time to have your knee on somebody’s neck,” says Stewart. “It’s going to be very easy to dribble but not very easy to breathe when someone’s knee is on your neck. So that’s why we wanted to get the point across.”
“As they say, athletes, [they] told them to shut up and dribble,” says Rose. “We just wanted to do the opposite. We never want to shut up and we want to speak our minds. I feel like this is a good way to get the point across especially to the younger athletes.”
It was a truly diverse crowd — young and old, players and coaches, county and city schools, all coming together to form one voice.
“It’s a really good opportunity and I want people to take away that Black lives matter,” says Nyara Simmons, who recently graduated from Penfield. “Don’t just come out here for a trend or just to be seen. Come out here for the movement. Just really take it in and do it for the cause.”
You know, we’re using our platform for them to speak out. Let them know that we’re here for them,” says Stewart. “Anything they need, they can always reach out and contact us. We’re doing this for the community, we’re doing it for Rochester, New York.”
“I’m excited to see younger athletes just standing up for what they believe in and fighting for what they believe in and fighting for what they believe in no matter what the circumstances they’re in,” says Rose. “Just showing them that I’ve been through the same thing that they’re going through. I just want them to know that we’re all in it together.”
When the NBA Draft comes in October, Stewart and Rose will leave Rochester and become professional basketball players. However, it’s clear that they’ll never truly leave their home and will continue to use their voices for change.