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'That could have been me:' Thunder assistant Maurice Cheeks shares story of police encounter

Thunder assistant Maurice Cheeks wrote an essay in the Players' Tribune, describing a police encounter in 2008 in which he was discriminately targeted because of his race. 

Cheeks, after being let go by the 76ers, went to Miami to reset and clear his mind. On a bike ride back to his apartment, a police car started following him. An officer jumped out of the car and yelled at Cheeks to get off his bike. 

Cheeks was handcuffed and pushed to the curb. He asked the officer, "Why? What did I do?" 

"You look like a guy in a white T-shirt who just robbed a house," the officer told him. 

Cheeks said he wanted to yell that he did nothing wrong. 

"I wanted to try and get my hands free," Cheeks wrote. "I wanted to set the record straight. I wanted to fight the cop who had spoken to me like I was nothing. But I knew that resisting would mean risking my life, so I did everything in my power to remain calm." 

Cheeks said those emotions had been buried for 12 years, until he saw the video of George Floyd dying in police custody as an officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck. 

"Everything came flooding back," Cheeks wrote. "How easily that could have been me. What if I had given into my emotions? What if, instead of remaining calm, I had insisted the officer treat me like a human being?" 

Read Cheeks' full Players' Tribune story

Related Photos
Oklahoma City coach Maurice Cheeks talks with Andre Roberson (21) during the Thunder Blue and White Scrimmage at the Chesapeake Energy Arena , Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City coach Maurice Cheeks talks with Andre Roberson (21) during the Thunder Blue and White Scrimmage at the Chesapeake Energy Arena , Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2ee47c5bf06b867dc693fbb275469bb4.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City coach Maurice Cheeks talks with Andre Roberson (21) during the Thunder Blue and White Scrimmage at the Chesapeake Energy Arena , Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City coach Maurice Cheeks talks with Andre Roberson (21) during the Thunder Blue and White Scrimmage at the Chesapeake Energy Arena , Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City coach Maurice Cheeks talks with Andre Roberson (21) during the Thunder Blue and White Scrimmage at the Chesapeake Energy Arena , Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Joe Mussatto

Joe Mussatto joined The Oklahoman in August 2018 to cover OU football, men’s basketball and softball. He previously covered University of Kentucky football and basketball for SEC Country. Mussatto is from Oklahoma City and lives in Norman. Read more ›

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