NBA Stars Open ESPY’s With Powerful Black Lives Matter Speech

ESPYS Black Lives Matter
The 2016 ESPY Awards kicked off with a powerful speech about the Black Lives Matter movement by some of the NBA’s biggest stars.

NBA ballers Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James took the stage to address the violent events of the past week. “The system is broken,” Carmelo Anthony said. “The problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new. But the urgency to great change is at an all-time high.”

Each player took the time to express their thoughts and frustrations on the Black Lives Matter movement as well as urge the public that it is a crucial time for them to take a stand.

Paul’s outlook on the situation is a unique one. While he is a black man who is deeply affected by the incidents of last week, he is also the nephew of a police officer. “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,” he said. “But Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile: this is also our reality. Generations ago, legends like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, and countless others—they set a model for what athletes should stand for. So we choose to follow in their footsteps.”

“The racial profiling has to stop,” said Wade. “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,” said LeBron. “We do.”

“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,” James added. “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.”

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