The NBA recently made an unprecedented move - vocally stating the league's support against gun violence. In a public service announcement launched on Christmas Day, Golden State Warriors star Carmelo Anthony as well as Chicago Bulls player Joakim Noah took a stand to end gun violence. The New York Knicks also saw Carmelo Anthony joining the group of advocates along with Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers. All the NBA stars who participated in the campaign voiced out their rejection of gun violence and echoed the fears of parents and loved ones of potential victims.
The project was done in cooperation with the Everytown for Gun Safety Movement, which was initiated by ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. While the reactions from fans of the NBA were mixed - with some bashing the basketball stars over their involvement in such political issues, the move gained the respect and admiration of US President Barack Obama.
"I'm proud of the NBA for taking a stand against gun violence," shared Obama via social media. The US president further said, "Sympathy for victims isn't enough - change requires all of us speaking up."
The NBA players saw the ad run five times on Christmas Day. In their respective spots, Curry, Anthony, Paul and Noah spoke of their personal lives and how these could be affected by gun violence. The interviews, which can be seen in the Everytown for Gun Safety Movement website, also included clips from the family members of gun violence victims.
"As a father and a professional athlete, I know there are people counting on me to send the right message and set an example," shared Paul. The Los Angeles Clippers star added, "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."
For Curry, the Golden State Warriors star and MVP revealed his fear that his daughter might fall victim to gun violence. Discussing his reaction to the news of a three-year-old child getting shot, he said, "My daughter Riley's that age."
With the release of the public service announcement, Bloomberg's co-advocates hope that the NBA stars could influence other members of the society to help end gun violence.
"NBA players are role models for young people everywhere and when they take action, people take notice," pointed out John Kelley, according to the New York Times. The spokesman for Newtown Action Alliance further noted, "We hope that it's a first step for the kind of attitude change that can lead to meaningful gun legislation."
As for the NBA, which has been repeatedly criticized for their involvement with Bloomberg's organization, Mike Bass clarified that the move has no political implication at all. Moreover, the NBA chief spokesman shared that the decision was geared towards spreading knowledge and awareness of the effects of gun violence.
"The public service announcement airing during our Christmas Day games highlights victims' and a few of our players' experiences with gun violence and is solely intended to raise awareness about the issue of personal safety in our communities," Bass explained.