NBA stars open ESPYs urging end to profiling, gun violence

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NBA players Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James speak onstage during the 2016 ESPYS on July 13, 2016. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

NBA players Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James speak onstage during the 2016 ESPYS on July 13, 2016. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James and fellow NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade opened the ESPY Awards with a plea to address racial profiling and end the nation’s spate of gun violence.

They stood on stage at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday night and took turns commenting on what Anthony called “the realities of the current state of America.”

Paul, nephew of a police officer, recited the names of several black men who have been killed, most by guns.

“We all feel helpless and frustrated by the violence,” James said. “But that’s not acceptable. It’s time to look in a mirror and ask ourselves, ‘what are we doing to create change?’ It’s not about being a role model, it’s not about our responsibilities for the tradition of activism.”

James urged his fellow professional athletes to return to their communities and invest time and resources in helping rebuild them. He asked them to educate themselves and renounce violence.

“We all have to do better,” he said.