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LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul issue plea to athletes to ‘create change’

NBA players Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James speak onstage during the 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
NBA players Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James speak onstage during the 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

On Wednesday night, the ESPYs opened with NBA stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul making an impassioned plea to their fellow athletes to “create change.”

“It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, ‘what are we doing to create change?’ James said in front of a packed room at the sports awards show.

The Cleveland Cavaliers forward and his fellow NBAers reportedly asked ESPN to make the announcement to open the show.

Paul pointed out how important it has been for athletes to take a stand in the past.

“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,” the Los Angeles Clippers point guard said.

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Paul said he is the nephew of a police officer and called for everyone to stop the violence.

New York Knicks forward Anthony says it is time for a change.

“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,” Anthony said.

The actions of the quartet earned praise from many including former U.S. president Bill Clinton.