Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James delivered the opening speech during the 2016 ESPY Awards and it ended up being the highlight of the night. The NBA superstars used their influence as a call to action for all athletes to rise up and make a change in their communities.
In the wake of the recent killings in Minnesota, Baton Rouge and Dallas, the stellar athletes spoke about moving past the hurt and anger and ending violence. Anthony stated, “The events of the past week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust and anger that plague so many of us. The system is broken. But the problems are not new, the violence is not new and the racial divide definitely is not new. But the urgency for change is at an all time high.”
Paul followed up by pledging to stand in the footsteps of athletes like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali who used their platform to fight against injustice. And Wade begged for an end to senseless murders by stating, “the needless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando it has to stop, enough. Enough is enough.”
LeBron closed out the message by encouraging all athletes to do their part and be the change they want to see.
“It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what are we doing to create change… I know tonight we are honoring Muhammad Al,i the ‘G.O.A.T.’ but to do his legacy any justice let’s use this moment as a call to action for all professional athlete to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence. And most importantly go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them help strengthen them help change them. We all have to do better.”
Take a look at their poignant message below.
— ABC News (@ABC) July 14, 2016