The opening of the 2016 ESPY Awards saw four of the NBA’s best take center stage to speak on the recent tragedies that have plagued the nation. Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James opened the show with a message to end widespread violence and racial divide in the United States.
Paul mentioned the names of many of the African-American men covered in the media who have died at the hands of police officers in the past few years, including Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and more recently Alton Sterling. He then recalled other pro athletes from past generations who used their platform to spread equal rights awareness and how the four up on stage want to follow in their footsteps — one being Pro Football Hall-of-Famer and former Syracuse great Jim Brown.
On July 8, Anthony published an Instagram post to voice his frustration with the current state of America and what he and his fellow athletes need to do to initiate change.
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
On Wednesday, Anthony further elaborated his stance by publishing an opinion article on The Guardian‘s U.S. edition.
“We can’t keep riding on this merry-go-round where tragedy happens,” Anthony wrote. “It’s all over TV and social media, everybody talks about it, then in three and four days it’s over with.”
These two instances led up to his most influential display of using his platform by gathering what is known in the NBA community as “the brotherhood” to help spread his message.