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‘Big George’ and banana sandwiches: Floyd family shares memories at emotional Minneapolis memorial

  • June 04, 2020

George Floyd’s extended family shared their memories of “Big George” and called for justice during emotional remarks on Thursday at Floyd’s Minneapolis memorial service.

The event, which was attended by friends and family but streamed live to the public, marked the first time that many Americans learned about the personality and life of the man whose death in the custody of Minneapolis police officers last week has spurred days of protests in dozens of cities across the country. 

“He was teaching us how to be a man because he was in this world before us,” Rodney Floyd, George Floyd’s youngest brother, said at the service. “I want you guys to know that he would stand up against any injustice anywhere,” he said.

Philonise Floyd, another one of Floyd’s brothers, said his brother was “like a general.”

“Every day, he walks outside, there would be a line of people … wanting to greet him, wanting to have fun with him,” Philonise Floyd said. 

“We came up together. We didn’t have much. Our mom did what she could. We would sleep in the same beds. Play video games together. Go outside and play football. I used to say to myself, man, you can’t throw, you can’t throw the ball, because the ball never came to me,” Philonise Floyd said.

He added that his brother had several nicknames — Big George, Big Floyd, Georgie Porgie — and eclectic eating habits.

“We made banana mayonnaise sandwiches together — it was a family thing,” Philonise Floyd said. 

Brandon Williams, Floyd’s nephew, said Floyd was “loving, and caring, and someone I could count on no matter what.”

“I’m trying not to be sad. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be,” Williams said. 

Williams said that Floyd was a big fan of LeBron James. After James’s team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, won the 2016 NBA championship against the Golden State Warriors, Williams said he remembered telling Floyd that Floyd seemed too happy about it. 

“You sound like you won the championship,” Williams said he told Floyd.

“We laughed about it, and he said, ‘You know how I feel about LeBron. I did win the championship.’ So, every time we would talk, I would ask him, ‘Hey, how are you doing man, you good?’ And he would say, ‘I feel like I won a championship,'” Williams said. 

“And that kind of stuck. It was this inside thing we had. I know with him being the strong person that he was, and seeing everyone coming together, rallying around him and extending all this love and support to our family, we are thankful and grateful, and I know, more than anything, with everybody grieving and hurting, he would want us to feel like we won the championship,” Williams said.

Several more services are expected in the coming days in North Carolina and Texas. Floyd’s funeral will be held in Houston on Tuesday. 

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