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NBA Players Delivered A Powerful Message About Gun Violence And Racial Justice

"Enough is enough."

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At the start of the 2016 ESPY Awards, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James all shared the stage to share a message about gun violence and racial justice.

Each player took turns speaking about gun violence and the recent deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

ABC

"The four of us are talking to our fellow athletes with the country watching because we cannot ignore the current realities of the state of America. 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. The problems are not new. The violence is not new. And the racial divide definitely is not new. But the urgency to create change is at an all-time high," said Carmelo Anthony.

And highlighted how athletes in the past have been active voices for social change.

ABC

"We stand here tonight accepting our role in uniting communities to be the change we need to see. 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. Generations ago, legends like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos, and Tommy Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, and countless others. They set a model for what athletes should stand for, so we choose to follow in their footsteps," Chris Paul continued.

It was an emotional and powerful moment.

ABC

"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 to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough. Now, as athletes it's on us to challenge each other to do even more than what we already do in our own communities. The conversation cannot, it cannot stop as our schedules get busy again. It won't always be convenient, it won't. It won't always be comfortable. But it is necessary," Dwyane Wade explained.

And ended with "a call to action for all professional athletes...to do better."

ABC

"We all feel helpless and frustrated by the violence, we do. But that's not acceptable. It's time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, what are we doing to create change? It's not about being a role model, it's not about our responsibilities to a tradition of activism. I know tonight, we honor Muhammad Ali the GOAT, but to do his legacy any justice, let's use this moment as a call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves, support 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. Thank you," LeBron James concluded.

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