The NBA Stars Who Spoke Against Violence At The ESPYs Came Up With The Idea Themselves

The 2016 ESPYS - Show
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On Thursday night, the ESPYs began with a cold open that featured LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony denouncing violence across the United States. The men pointed to recent tragedies — including the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile — and called for peace and change.

It was an unexpected but moving and profound message that preceded the typical jokes and silly monologue that kick off the awards show every year. And, apparently, the idea came from the players, not the network.

The Banana Boat Boys weren’t the only athletes in attendance to use the platform of the ESPYs to call for change — there were messages against gun violence, racial profiling and gender inequality later  — but opening the show in the fashion that they did sent a very strong message. Things need to be better. People need to be better.

Their call to action for other athletes to use their influence to stop violence and make their communities better is an important one, especially in light of recent events. It’s also one that may ring a little bit louder and little bit clearer with the knowledge that these guys went out of their way to take advantage of the moment and deliver that message in the way that they did.