Kobe Bryant’s School Basketball Team: ‘I Am A Muslim’

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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Kobe Bryant’s former basketball team wore shirts saying they were Muslims, refugees, and immigrants during a game Tuesday.

Parents have sold the shirts and donated the proceeds to the ACLU.

“I am a Muslim I am a Refugee I am an Immigrant I am an American I am an Ace” read the full text displayed on the shirts worn by the high school Lower Merion Aces, as reported by PA Prep Live.

The shirts are being sold for $10 apiece to raise money for the ACLU. The effort has so far raised $1,000, as reported by Fox 29.

“People’s lives are bigger than a ball going through a hoop,” said Najja Walker-X, the Aces’ senior guard. The team, which once featured retired NBA star Kobe Bryant, has also previously knelt or sat while the national anthem was playing at their games.

Noah Fennell, another senior guard, pointed out the more direct nature of the shirts’ message, when compared with other forms of expression, like kneeling.

“I think it’s just the morally right thing to do,” said the player. “There’s a lot of people out there who are getting discriminated against and sometimes they do have a voice. Why not share their voice? We’re on a good stage where we can say that. Our team is very diverse, we’re all best friends. And I think we’re a very diverse team, we should show people that, that it works.”

“No matter where you come from, no matter who you are, you should be welcomed, respected and heard,” says a statement issued by the Lower Merion Aces. “As a team, we believe in fighting for the rights of all — protecting, defending and giving voice to those who feel marginalized, who live in fear and who face injustice.”

“We just show that no matter race you are, no matter what religion you are, we’re all the same. That’s what we are,” said Steven Payne, the Aces’ point guard.

The Aces won their game against Strath Haven that night, 82-60.

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