HOUSTON – Former NBA star and Houston native Stephen Jackson says he’s heartbroken over the death of his dear friend George Floyd.
“It shut me down man, I screamed I scared my daughter and I was punching stuff," Jackson said.
He said he was first introduced to Floyd, who he called “twin” because of their resemblance, through a mutual friend.
The pair met in the early 90s in Houston’s Third Ward.
“Every time I went to Houston my first stop was at Cuney Homes to find Floyd,” Jackson said. “He honestly cared about me, he made sure nothing was going to happen to me and he didn’t let anybody take advantage of me."
Jackson said Floyd had his up and downs and eventually moved to Minnesota to live a better life. He said Floyd was working security at a nightclub and also drove trucks. Jackson said the last time he talked to Floyd was about a year ago when he sent Floyd clothes for work.
Floyd died Monday after Minneapolis police responded to a forgery call. Outrage sparked from millions across the country, including Jackson, followed when cellphone video showed an officer pinning Floyd to the ground with a knee to the neck for several minutes.
"He didn't deserve that and we have to draw a line in the sand, ain’t no playing both sides. Either you stand for what’s right or you're condoning what’s wrong," Jackson said.
Jackson said he plans to travel to Minnesota to fight for justice and keep his friend’s memory alive.
Jackson spoke on the TODAY show on Thursday morning.
“You don’t have many people that genuinely support you without any motives and Floyd was that guy,” he said.
During the interview, Jackson said he was devastated watching the video and hearing Floyd cry out for his mother, who died two years ago.
“We don’t scream our mother’s name unless we know something is wrong and our life is in jeopardy and we can’t control it,” said Jackson.
Jackson wants justice, but he said violence in Minneapolis isn’t what Floyd would’ve wanted.
“He would be happy that people are fighting for him but that’s not the way he would’ve wanted to do it,” Jackson said. “Floyd would want everybody standing together and fighting for justice and that’s it.”