Former 76ers All-Star and head coach Maurice Cheeks wrote an article for The Players’ Tribune detailing his previous experience with a police officer in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police and the resulting protests across the country.
After being let go as the Sixers’ head coach in 2008, Cheeks said he went down to Miami. After leaving his apartment on his bike, he was followed by an officer for a few minutes before being cut off and put in handcuffs.
“A few people were out walking, but because this was more than a decade ago, nobody thought to film the interaction with their phone,” Cheeks recalled. “In fact, it might have even seemed routine: a black guy getting pulled over by the cops.”
Cheeks’ identity was mistaken for someone who had robbed a convenience store. At that moment, he wasn’t a four-time All-Star or a former NBA head coach. Despite his innocence, more policemen arrived on the scene and Cheeks’ only option was to stay calm if he didn’t want the situation to escalate.
“But that day on my bike, I realized the extent to which all black people are in some ways expected to have superhuman control over their emotions — and if they don’t, the results can be deadly,” Cheeks wrote.