"We are the New York Knicks, and when your son Trayvon died, our son died as well."
Just 17 words is what it took to silence the locker room.
17 words to the mother of a murdered 17 year old.
17 words from the star player, #7. Melo.
Carmelo. Carmelo. Carmelo...spoke these eloquent words as the proud mother of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton, stood in the middle of the room. Beside her was Trayvon's big brother, Jahvaris, who looked on with incredible strength, the same strength he has shown since the day his brother passed away. Men stood in silence behind them. Amare. Baron. Tyson. JR. Steve. The entire team. Coaches huddled in the entrance way to watch. Trainers sat on the floor to witness. Carmelo delivered a tribute to this courageous woman and her son that was felt in every bone in every body that was in the room. Melo showed just how great of a man he is. Silence. There was a lot of silence. Silence that was felt in the heart. The stuff Sybrina talked about on Wednesday when the killer of her son was arrested. heart to heart. Melo's to Sybrina's.
This was suppose to be a private moment. A team moment. Something Carmelo and La La wanted to do. This was not for the media or a photo opp. But, as Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." Not nearly the agony Sybrina, Tracy, Jahvaris and their family have gone through. But enough agony that I had to share this moment. A moment that changes lives. A moment that inspires others to stand up. A moment for Sybrina and Jahvaris to breathe. Deep breathes.
Carmelo and Sybrina just looked at each other and said thank you, thank you, thank you. We didn't stay for the game, but that moment will stay in my heart. A heartfelt and profound respect for Carmelo. Profound. Much bigger than championship rings or gold medals. Much bigger.
When we got back in the car, she looked down at the autographed jersey Carmelo had given Jahvaris, and turned to me and didn't say a word. A special silence. A heartfelt silence.
Michael Skolnik is the Editor-In-Chief of GlobalGrind.com and the political director to Russell Simmons. Prior to this, Michael was an award-winning filmmaker. Follow him on twitter @MichaelSkolnik