In one of the most rapidly-growing traditions in all of professional sports, a handful of NBA teams will tip-off on Christmas Day this year in primetime broadcasts. In years past, marquee matchups have been on display to huge fanfare, and the league even rolls out special holiday-edition jerseys (you can even own one for a mere $110).
This Christmas, five NBA games will be played on ESPN and ABC, and a new commercial aimed squarely at combating gun violence is set to air nationally during all five contests. The ad was produced in partnership with the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, and features top NBA talent in seated interviews like Stephen Curry and Carmelo Anthony. Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, both of whom will play on Friday, also appear in the video.
The commercial also features Richard Martinez, the father of a UC Santa Barbara student who was killed in a 2014 shooting rampage. Martinez has become a strong advocate for gun safety after his son Christopher was killed in the tragedy. Martinez says in the ad, ‘We’re Americans. We don’t have to live like this.”
All-Star Chris Paul says in the video, “My parents used to always say, ‘A bullet doesn’t have a name on it.'”
Yesterday President Barack Obama took to Twitter to offer his support to the NBA players who gave their time for the ad:
I’m proud of the @NBA for taking a stand against gun violence. Sympathy for victims isn’t enough – change requires all of us speaking up.
— President Obama (@POTUS) December 23, 2015
This is not the first time that prominent NBA players have voiced their support for sensible gun-safety legislation. Following the Umpqua Community College shooting in October, LeBron James also publicly noted, “There’s no room for guns.” James continued, “Obviously you’re not going to be able to take every gun out, I don’t know how you can do that… But if there’s some stipulations behind it or some penalties, some big time penalties or rules or regulations about carrying firearms, legal or illegal, people will second-guess themselves.”
[image via screengrab]
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