By Frederick H. Lowe
The NBA has some great shooters but they do it without guns and they are urging others to follow their lead.
As part of the “End Gun Violence” campaign, some the of the sport’s top stars, including Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and Joakim Noah, have begun focusing on the 88 Americans killed every day by gun violence and the hundreds of others who are injured.
The campaign is a series of PSAs that began airing during NBA games played on Christmas Day. Writer, actor and director Spike Lee directed the “End Gun Violence,” public service announcements for gun violence survivors from the Everytown Survivor Network.
The PSAs make clear that high profile professional athletes have become involved in pressing social issues.
After police shot and killed Michael Brown, athletes wore warm up jerseys that boasted his name. After a New York cop used an illegal chokehold to murder Eric Garner, athletes wore “I can’t breathe” jerseys, the last words Garner uttered before he died. NFL and NBA players also wore warm up jerseys that said “#Black Lives Matter.”
Recently, the University of Missouri football team refused to play a game until Tom Wolfe, the school’s president resigned. Students, including student athletes, charged Wolfe with ignoring blatant racism on campus. Wolfe stepped down.
“All over America people are tired of daily gun violence,” Carmelo Anthony of the New York Kicks. “But I’ve spoken with people about this in Baltimore, in New York, and across the United States and I know people are ready for their voices to be heard. Basketball brought me to a different route in my life, but every kid should have an outlet to reach his or her full potential. Using this platform to speak out, I know we can keep guns out of the wrong hands and save lives.” Anthony, who plays forward or strong forward, averages 21.8 points per game.
Stephen Curry II, who plays guard and point guard for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, said a shooting death shocked him.
“I heard over the summer about a shooting that killed a three-year-old girl, and I immediately thought about my three-year-old daughter, Riley.” Curry averages 30.8 points per game.
John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said the organization is proud to join with these NBA stars and Spike Lee to highlight stories of gun violence in America and bring people together to address the problem.
The campaign features 35 gun violence survivors from all across the country, from Boston to Chicago to New York City and includes stories of everyday gun violence in urban communities to mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., and Tucson, Ariz. Survivors will share personal stories about gun violence.