CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The ESPYs is a yearly celebration highlighting the best in sports.
This year's ESPY awards opened with a somber moment. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade began the show urging their fellow athletes to bring about change to end the police shootings and the racial divide.
"We cannot ignore the reality of the current state of America," Carmelo Anthony of New York Knicks said.
Anthony referring to two black men killed by police in Louisiana and Minnesota earlier this month.
Chris Paul acknowledged the hundreds of thousands of great officers serving our country, including his uncle. He also said the reality cannot be ignored.
"Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Laquan McDonald, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, this is also our reality," said the NBA All-Star guard.
"The racial profiling has to stop, the shoot-to-kill mentality has to stop, not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop," according to Dwayne Wade, Chicago Bulls guard.
He went on to say the retaliation has to stop.
Five Dallas police officers were gunned down by a black man after the police-involved shootings.
NBA Finals MVP LeBron James spoke about change.
"We all feel helpless and frustrated by the violence, we do. That's not acceptable. It's time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves 'what are we doing to create change?'"
James passionately pleaded with his fellow athletes to be the change needed.
"It's not about being a role model. It's not about our responsibility to the tradition of social activism. I know tonight we're honoring Muhammad Ali, "The Goat" but to do his legacy any justice let's use this moment as a call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence," James continued.
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