NBA 'super friends' unite to plead for change in America in the wake of recent tragedies

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The 'super friends' of the NBA - LeBron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade - may well indeed want to play together one day and form a super team, but last night at the ESPYs they addressed far more important issues.

In the wake of the high-profile shooting deaths last week of two African-American men and five Dallas police officers, America has seemingly gone into meltdown.

The two civilian deaths were filmed and subsequently released for public consumption through social media. The suspicious circumstance surrounding the deaths created a divide between the public and the law enforcement agencies in America, and it's something these powerful sporting figures believe needs to stop.

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Taking to the stage at the ESPY awards, Paul said: "Generations ago, legends like Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, John Carlos and Tommie Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe and countless others, they set a model for what athletes should stand for," said Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers' star point guard. "So we choose to follow in their footsteps."

Anthony followed up: "The system is broken, the problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new, but the urgency for change is definitely at an all-time high."

"The racial profiling has to stop," Wade said, the eldest member of the group at 34. "The shoot-to-kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop. But also, the retaliation has to stop. The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough."

LeBron, who was honoured the best male athlete, the best NBA player and also was awarded the ESPY for best championship performance for helping to bring the Cavaliers their first ever title, closed the group's cry with a powerful message: We all have to do better.

"Tonight we're honoring Muhammad Ali, the GOAT (greatest of all time)," he said. "But to do his legacy any justice, let's use this moment as a call to action to all professional athletes 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."

It's admirable that these four superstars would use their status to try and instill positivity across America. If even one person took on board what these All-Stars had to say, then they have made a difference in what is a very dark time for the U.S.

New York Knicks
Atlantic Division
Eastern Conference
Chris Paul
LA Clippers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Dwyane Wade
Miami Heat
Southeast Division
LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Carmelo Anthony
Chicago Bulls

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