NBA players Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James approached the network with the idea for them to open the 2016 ESPY Awards with a powerful message calling for nongunviolence. With the recent shooting of five officers in Dallas on Thursday, along with the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and by police of days before that, and the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando.
It’s time to look at the mirror and ask ourselves what are we doing to make change, and renounce all violence,“ James said to the audience. “We all have to do better.”
“It won’t always be convenient,“ said Wade. “It won’t always be comfortable. But it is necessary.”
Its being reported that Lebron James reached out to producers several days ago, after Carmelo Anthony posted an Instagram photo from the “Ali Summit” in June 1967, when the nation’s top black athletes including Bill Russell, Jim Brown, and Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) flanked Muhammad Ali at a news conference in support of his decision to object his induction into the Vietnam War. Bill Rhoden of The New York Times called the civil-rights milestone “the first—and last—time that so many African-American athletes at that level came together to support a controversial cause.”
They coordinated their wardrobe to stand in unity, so people would listen to what they were saying rather than be distracted by what they were wearing.
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama spoke during a memorial service in Dallas for the police officers killed last week, and insisted that “we are not as divided as we seem.”
Speaking about the recent tragedies, Obama said, “All of it has left us wounded, and angry, and hurt. It’s as if the deepest fault lines of our democracy have suddenly been exposed, perhaps even widened. And although we know that such divisions are not new—though they have surely been worse in even the recent past—that offers us little comfort.”
Obama encouraged the nation with these words, “With an open heart, we can worry less about which side has been wronged, and worry more about joining sides to do right.”
Nelson Mandela once said, that platform might be sports.
“Sport has the power to change the world,” Mandela once said. “It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”
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