Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James kick off the show with an important message at the 2016 ESPY Awards on Wednesday (July 13) at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
The four NBA players used the platform to reach out to other athletes and encourage them to speak up about the Black Lives Matter movement and use their influence to renounce violence.
“We stand here tonight accepting our role in uniting communities,” Chris said. “We stand before you as fathers, sons, husbands, brothers, uncles, and in my case, as an African-American man and the nephew of a police officer, who is one of the hundreds of thousands of great officers serving this country. But Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile — this is also our reality.”
“The racial profiling has to stop,” Dwayne added. “The shoot to kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop. But also, the retaliation has to stop. The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando — it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough.”
“We all feel frustrated and helpless by the violence. We do,” LeBron said. “Let’s use this moment as a call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence. And most importantly, go back to our communities and invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them. We all have to do better.”