ROUNDBALL DAILY

Tragic death of George Floyd, who once played college basketball, hits hard with NBA veteran and “twin” Stephen Jackson

George Floyd (far left) with his friend and NBA player Stephen Jackson (second to right)

By Joel Alderman

The tragic death of George Floyd in the widely publicized incident involving a Minneapolis policeman and his three fellow officers has strong basketball connotations.

Floyd was a former high school and college player and his close friend was Stephen Jackson a member of the 2003 NBA champion San Antonio Spurs who was in the league for 14 seasons.

Jackson revealed that they each called the other “twin.” He was seen on ABC’s “Nightline” the night following the widely publicized and unprovoked episode when Floyd was pinned to the ground for over seven minutes with a knee on his neck exclaiming “I can’t breathe.”

Floyd played basketball from 1993 to 1995 at what was then known as South Florida Community College in Avon Park near Tampa. The school was later renamed to South Florida State College.

George Floyd with his teammates at South Florida Community College near Tampa. (Photo: WFTS-TV)

 
George Walker, his college coach, told WFTS (ABC Action News, Tampa Bay) that he recruited Floyd from Houston in 1993. “He was a good athlete, and a good person,” Walker remembered.
 
A teammate, Robert Caldwell “just literally broke down. I said ‘That’s my Floyd, that’s my guy, that’s Floyd.’”
 
George Snell, another classmate, couldn’t watch the entire video. “I was just totally blown away. This has to stop. Somewhere it has to stop now. He was not someone who deserved this. He was a human being, regardless of his skin color.”

Jackson wants death penalties for killing his “twin”

On Friday (May 29th) the now-former police officer, Derek Chauvin, who was seen on video pinning Floyd down by pressing his knee against the victim’s neck, was taken into custody. He is charged with 3rd-degree murder and manslaughter.

Jackson wanted the police officers to receive the death penalty, and predicted that without it, the protests would get worse.

“You’re going to see more and more stuff going on which I don’t agree with, but people are not getting justice. It’s going to get worse. Trust me, it’s going to get worse.”

Floyd, who was a high school football and basketball athlete, lived through Jackson’s success. He went to South Florida Community College where he was on the court team.

A close relationship from their early years

Growing up they became close and “looked out for each other” in Houston’s South Side. “When I was in Houston, he looked out for me,” Jackson said. “It was a relationship that grew over just being in the streets, growing up together. And we just became tight over the years, and the fact that we look alike made us grow even tighter.

“Every city, every team I played on, everywhere I was, we talked. He was excited. Everything I did,” Jackson said. “He was excited because the first thing he said was, ‘My twin is doing this. My twin is doing that.’ He lived through me. He knew he had the talent. He had the same skills and everything I had. I just had more opportunity.”

A new start

Despite Floyd having once served time in prison for armed robbery, he had moved to Minneapolis to build a better life. He said Floyd had “beat the hood.

“He was excited to tell me he was driving trucks and he was going to Minnesota and start over — get a new start,” Jackson continued.

I know his best days were now. He was living his best days. He was becoming his best self.”

All for naught.

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