*NBA stars Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Joakim Noah appear in a new public service announcement as part of a campaign to end gun violence.
“I heard about a shooting involving a 3-year-old girl over the summer. My daughter Riley is that age,” Curry says to begin the PSA from Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that aims to prevent gun violence.
“The gun should never be an option,” Anthony says in the spot that will debut on Christmas day and air during the league’s heavily viewed holiday schedule.
Director and basketball fan Spike Lee is a member of the organization’s creative council and worked to get the league and its players involved in what Jason Rzepka, Everytown’s director of cultural engagement, calls a “new high-water mark for our work.”
“I think [Lee] sensed and saw that our guys were feeling that same passion that he had and he reached out to Adam [Silver, the NBA’s commissioner] and said, ‘I want to do something about this and I think we should do it together,’ and we thought it was a good idea,” said Kathy Behrens, the NBA’s president of social responsibility and player programs.
“The guys really wanted to kind of put their voices behind this, and so we like the way it’s come together, and I think the guys speak very passionately about the issue of trying to end gun violence, trying to make their communities stronger and safer for families.”
The players are joined during the 32-second spot by survivors of gun violence and others who are holding pictures of loved ones who have been killed.
The project came together within the past month, and Behrens said more players would have wanted to be involved if they had more time. Even so, Rzepka said the organization never had such involvement from professional athletes, calling it “pretty remarkable to have survivors of gun violence standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the biggest stars.”
The Bulls’ Noah, in Chicago, and Anthony, in his hometown of Baltimore, have been particularly vocal about making their cities safer. Behrens said the league’s involvement was a natural fit, in line with other community service initiatives such as the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper program.