Trayvon Martin and the Pistons

WASHINGTON – On a superficial level, no Piston resembles Trayvon Martin more than Brandon Knight – Detroit’s youngest player and only native Floridian.

“Stuff happens like this all the time,” Knight said. “It’s just one of those situations where it’s being brought to light. It’s something that the media did catch wind of, but stuff like this happens a lot.

“Like I can tell you, just being from Florida, stuff like that, it happens all the time. But it’s just one of the cases where we finally do realize what’s going on. It’s just blowing up now, but it happened a long time ago.

I told Knight how shocked I was to find out, after first reading about Martin, how long ago his death occurred (follow the link for background on the case, if you’re unfamiliar).

“That just shows you, it just really depends on who catches wind of it and who starts to talk about it,” Knight said. “… It happens a lot more, but it doesn’t always get out to the media.

“It’s just the world we live in today. … I’m not sure if we can just stop it. That’s just how the world is.”

Knight noted that key to trying to prevent incidents like this was raising awareness, but he wasn’t sure what steps he would take right now. The Miami Heat took the lead – before and during their game at Detroit – in using their NBA platform to bring attention to Martin’s death.

“That boy was unarmed and had stuff going for him in life, so it’s sad,” Walker Russell said. “Something has to happen to this guy who did it, I think personally. It’s good to see that more and more people are getting involved with it – especially a team like the Miami Heat, who have so many All-Stars. “

Since then, a couple Pistons have followed suit.

Damien Wilkins set his Twitter picture to an image of Martin, and Charlie Villanueva posted a photo of himself in a hoodie with the caption “Supporting Trayvon Martin.” To Wilkins, supporting Martin was both obvious and important for many NBA players.

“I want justice for him, so keeping the awareness alive,” Wilkins said. “… You’ve got a young black kid that seemed to die an innocent death, murdered in cold blood. The killer can just walk into Chick-fil-A right now.”

Ben Wallace, the future lawyer, took a more measured tone.

“Sometimes, when people try to help and get too involved or get too caught up, they end up hurting the situation,” Wallace said. “So, you’ve got one guy that was trying to help, trying too protect, look out for the community and whatever and might have just made a bad judgment decision. Not only does it affect him and the kid’s family, it affects all of us.”

Wallace said, beyond the social impact, he’s paid particular interest to legal issues of the incident.

“It’s going to be tough to call,” Wallace said. “But eventually, it will have a way of working itself out. Something will show up here. Something will show up here.”

Tags: Ben Wallace Brandon Knight Charlie Villanueva Damien Wilkins Walker Russell