You really can’t make this up. The New York Times has a piece up today on the back-story of how LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and other NBA stars ended up with “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts inspired by the death of Eric Garner.

Here’s an excerpt and note how Jay Z is somehow critical to the success of the plan:

The plan, a race against the clock before the Nets’ game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night at Barclays Center, unfolded across several boroughs of the city. James, Jay-Z, the visiting British royal couple and an associate of the hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons had starring roles. So did a security guard whose lone responsibility was to help smuggle the T-shirts into the Nets’ locker room. The shirts have since become part of the national conversation.

Come on, guys. It’s printing a T-shirt, not a SEAL Team 6 raid … it can’t have been that hard to plan.

Anyway, this photo of the NBA players in their T-shirts was widely shared on Twitter. That’s Jay Z in the middle … the one who IS NOT wearing the T-shirt:

But why? Here’s your answer — the shirt was too big. Again from that New York Times article:

So Jay Z had a chance to make an important statement, but his fashion sense got in the way?

And not everyone thinks Jay Z should get as much attention for this as he received from the Times. Here’s ESPN columnist Jason Whitlock:

Over to you Jay Z.

Related:

Twitchy coverage of Eric Garner.