NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade joined forces as they walked onto the starkly lit stage Thursday night to ask their fellow athletes to help make a difference.
“The urgency to create change is at an all-time high,” Anthony said.
His speech comes days after he posted on social media and asked other athletes to “step up” and do something about the system.
First off let me start off by saying " All Praise Due To The Most High." Secondly, I'm all about rallying, protesting, fighting for OUR people. Look I'll even lead the charge, By Any Means Necessary. We have to be smart about what we are doing though. We need to steer our anger in the right direction. The system is Broken. Point blank period. It has been this way forever. Martin Luther King marched. Malcolm X rebelled. Muhammad Ali literally fought for US. Our anger should be towards the system. If the system doesn't change we will continue to turn on the TVs and see the same thing. We have to put the pressure on the people in charge in order to get this thing we call JUSTICE right. A march doesn't work. We tried that. I've tried that. A couple social media post/tweet doesn't work. We've all tried that. That didn't work. Shooting 11 cops and killing 5 WILL NOT work. While I don't have a solution, and I'm pretty sure a lot of people don't have a solution, we need to come together more than anything at this time. We need each other. These politicians have to step up and fight for change. I'm calling for all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge. Go to your local officials, leaders, congressman, assemblymen/assemblywoman and demand change. There's NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore. Those days are long gone. We have to step up and take charge. We can't worry about what endorsements we gonna lose or whose going to look at us crazy. I need your voices to be heard. We can demand change. We just have to be willing to. THE TIME IS NOW. IM all in. Take Charge. Take Action. DEMAND CHANGE. Peace7 #StayMe7o
“I’m calling for all my fellow ATHLETES to step up and take charge. Go to your local officials, leaders, congressman, assemblymen/assemblywoman and demand change,” he wrote. “There’s NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore. Those days are long gone. We have to step up and take charge. We can’t worry about what endorsements we gonna lose or whose going to look at us crazy. I need your voices to be heard. We can demand change. We just have to be willing to.”
On Thursday night, The New York Knicks forward's message was the same but now reverberated through the giants of the sports world.
Paul, the LA Clippers point guard and nephew of a police officer, read the names of the victims of police brutality and asked for those in the room to take a stand so another life will not be taken.
Newly-signed Chicago Bull Dwyane Wade carried the dispatch Paul started, saying: “The racial profiling has to stop. 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 mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough.”
According to ABC News reporter T.J. Holmes, the four athletes asked ESPN and parent company ABC to open the show this way.
The start of the show was not a network idea. LeBron, Carmelo, CP3, and D-Wade approached the network and asked to open the show. #ESPYS— T.J. Holmes (@tjholmes) July 14, 2016
As the basketball stars stood side-by-side, LeBron James , fresh off his NBA Championship win, brought the message home, saying, “it’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves: ‘What are we doing to create change?’”
He urged fellow athletes to “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.”
Prior to the ceremony, NBA hall of famer and current basketball analysist Charles Barkley spoke to Inside Edition about how society needs to change.
“It is not a simple fix,” he said. “We all must come together…You can’t always blame other people. There is too much yelling and screaming going on.”