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NBA Players Star in Ad Against Gun Violence

Steph Curry, Chris Paul, and others feature in a TV spot calling for an end to gun violence.

In a 32-second television commercial featuring NBA stars Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah, and Chris Paul, the athletes speak solemnly about gun violence in the United States and urge Americans against gun use. The ad—for which, The New York Times notes, there is “little precedent”—aired during Christmas Day games on ESPN. It was created by Everytown for Gun Safety and directed by Spike Lee, whose latest film, Chi-Raq, is about about gun violence in the city of Chicago.

“I heard over the summer about a shooting that killed a 3-year-old girl, and I immediately thought of my 3-year-old daughter, Riley,” Curry said in a press release. “Then I learned the horrible statistic that every day 88 Americans are killed with guns and hundreds more are injured. We’ve come together as a country to solve problems before—gun violence should be no different.”

The campaign also features the testimonies of people from all over the United States who’ve been affected by gun violence in one way or another, like Kim Odom, a pastor whose son Steven was shot and killed in 2007.

“My son Steven dreamed of one day playing in the NBA. You would often see him walking with his basketball in hand,” she said in the press release. “But those dreams were shattered when he was 13 years old. He was shot and killed walking home from playing basketball in our neighborhood on October 4, 2007. Our family will never be whole without Steven. But if we can prevent another family from being torn apart by gun violence, we will never stop speaking out.”

In a tweet last Wednesday, Barack Obama took notice of the ads, commending the NBA for getting involved. “I'm proud of the @NBA for taking a stand against gun violence,” the president wrote. “Sympathy for victims isn't enough—change requires all of us speaking up.”

Although the ad never mentions specific policy goals for gun violence—or even speaks the words “gun control”—The New York Times writes that Everytown was founded by Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, with the explicit aim of implementing stricter gun safety laws.

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