NBA All-Stars Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Joakim Noah, and Carmelo Anthony all appear in a 32-second clip, which also includes footage of family members of victims who detail their stories of tragedies caused by firearms, including Richard Martinez, whose 20-year-old son was killed in the mass shooting at Isla Vista, California last year.
Martinez told Huffington Post his late son “would be thrilled that these players are doing this. He was a great fan.”
The presence of Curry, the NBA’s biggest breakout star at the moment, is especially poignant. He mentions having recently read of the gun-related death of a 3-year-old, which reminded him of his own daughter Riley, who’s become an Internet sensation in the aftermath of his Golden State Warriors’ playoff run last year and is the same age. “
“We’ve come together as a country to solve problems before – gun violence should be no different,” Curry said in a Everytown for Gun Safety press release.
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“Throughout my career in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and traveling around the country, I’ve seen that gun violence is ending more than just lives – it’s ending hope for a lot of people,” said Paul in the same release. “As a father and a professional athlete, I know there are people counting on me to send the right message and set an example. So I want to lead others to raise ourselves up from gun violence and save lives. I’m proud to spread the message that we can accomplish an America free from gun violence.”
“All over America people are tired of daily gun violence,” added Anthony. “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 my platform to speak out, I know we can keep guns out of the wrong hands and save lives.”
The ads were directed by Spike Lee, whose new film “Chi-raq” tackles the epidemic of gun violence in the city of Chicago.
This is not the first time NBA stars have shown solidarity with the victims of gun violence. When unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in 2012, Miami Heat players posed wearing hoodies, as a nod outfit he was wearing when he died. Later, then-Heat star LeBron James wore a T-shirt which read “I Can’t Breathe” as an homage to the death of Eric Garner due to an apparent chokehold by NYPD officers.
“I think what LeBron’s done is made it easy for a lot of other brothers in the league to say what they want to say,” Lee told Sports Ilustrated, “because if nothing happened to LeBron, it’s OK for me. LeBron is definitely taking a leadership role in athletes speaking out today. He needs to be commended for that.”
Everytown for Gun Safety, which a nonprofit co-founded in 2014 by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, combines the efforts of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America to campaign to raise awareness about gun violence. Their new PSA, featuring active NBA stars, will begin airing on Dec. 25.