In the wake of the tragic recent shootings, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade opened the ESPYs with a poignant speech about ending the gun violence in America. LeBron urged the nation that ‘we all have to do better.’
The 2016 ESPY Awards started out with an epic Black Lives Matter speech from basketball’s biggest stars. LeBron James, 31, Chris Paul, 31, Carmelo Anthony, 32, and Dwyane Wade, 34, stood before the audience and pleaded for us all to take part in ending the violence in America. They have had “enough” of the senseless shootings and violence that have been plaguing our nation.
“Tonight is a celebration of sports, celebrating our accomplishments and our victories. But, in this moment of celebration, we have to start the show tonight this way,” Carmelo started off. “We cannot ignore the realities of the current state of America. The events of the last week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust and anger that plague so many of us. The system is broken, the problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new.”
“We stand here tonight accepting our role in uniting communities,” the Los Angeles Clippers 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,” Dwyane said. “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.”
LeBron finished the speech with a powerful plea to the people of America to take action against the violence. “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,” he said. “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.”
In the week before the ESPYs, too many innocent people lost their lives. A lone gunman slaughtered five cops in Dallas on July 7. Only hours before, Philando was shot by police and his death was live-streamed on Facebook. Two days before that, Alton was shot and killed by police. These unfathomable killings left America reeling and its people — like LeBron, Chris, Carmelo and Dwyane — demanding change.
What a way to open the show. Their speech was a game-changing moment. It’s not easy to speak out, especially in the tumultuous world we’re living in, but these NBA stars knew they had to say something.
HollywoodLifers, what did you think of the ESPYs opening? Let us know!