Portland Trail Blazers' French forward Nicolas Batum last night joined the thousands of people around the world showing support for the victims of the recent Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack.
Adding his voice
During the pre-game warms ups prior to Portland's game against the Miami Heat, Batum donned a t-shirt emblazoned with the message 'Je Suis Charlie' that has come to symbolise the response from peaceful protester not just in France, but across the globe too, after 12 people were shot dead at the Parisian headquarters of the satirist magazine on Tuesday.
Batum handed the t-shirt to Blazers teammate Robin Lopez to wear while he was out on the court. The message translated into English simply means; "I am Charlie."
The 26-year-old has been in the NBA since 2008 but remains a proud Frenchman, having won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals with the national team between 2011-2014, and added his interpretation of the events which many speculate were carried out by Islamic extremists angered by cartoons published previously by Charlie Hebdo depicting key figures of the Muslim faith.
"I woke up (Wednesday) morning and it was the first thing I saw," he told the team's official website.
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"That's sad, twelve people killed like this. I have no words to explain what happened. I read that this morning, people came in and shot police. It's sad for those people who tried to do their jobs.
"We have different opinions, okay...But you've got to respect everybody's opinion. You can't shoot those people... You can't kill someone because you disagree with somebody."
At the time of writing the two men suspected of committing the atrocity, brothers Said Kouachi and Cherif Kouachi, are holed up in a building in Dammartin-en-Goele (north east of Paris) surrounded by police. They are believed to have taken one hostage.
The attacks have been taken as an assault on the expression of free speech and the 'Je Suis Charlie' slogan has been taken up by people in cities from Paris and London to the United States.
This was the scene in Paris on the night of the attack.
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