ESPYs: NBA Stars Speak on Black Lives Matter to Open Ceremony

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The ESPY Awards is one of the more ridiculous, contrived awards ceremonies that exist in Hollywood.

But Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James took to the stage on Wednesday night and put a serious spin on the ceremony.

They opened the event by coming out in black suits and addressing the issues of racial tension that have been plaguing America for years now.

To many, these issues culminated in the last two weeks with the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police officers... followed by the killing of five cops in Dallas by a deranged sniper.

ESPYs Opener

"The four of us we cannot ignore the realities of the current state of America," Anthony said as the first of his friends to speak.

"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.

"But the problems are not new, the violence is not new and the racial divide definitely is not new. But the urgency for change is at an all time high."

Then it was time for Wade to chime in:

"Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop but also the retaliation has to stop. The needless 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 we already do in our cow communities. The conversation cannot stop as our schedules get busy again. It wont always be convenient, it won't.

"It won't always be comfortable but it is necessary."

And then Paul:

"[My nephew] 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. Abdul-Karim al-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 stand in their footsteps."

And, lastly, James:

"It's time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what are we doing to create change… I know tonight we are honoring Muhammad Al,i the 'G.O.A.T.' but to do his legacy any justice let's use this moment as a call to action for all professional athlete to educate ourselves, explore 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."

Pretty impressive, no?

Watch the opening speeches below:

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ESPY Awards, Sports
Stars:
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade
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