Change Starts From The Top Down
The opening of the 2016 ESPY awards, highlighting achievement and excellence in the world of sports, will be a moment that will be remembered for years to come. Four of the most accomplished players in the NBA used the moment and platform to urge and implore fellow athletes to join them in their quest to rid America of rampant violence, injustice and inequality. The four men, who, between them, have won 6 NBA championships, 7 Olympic Gold Medals, and appeared in an astounding 42 All Star games, are showing us all what it means to be in DoMode. Instead of resting on their accomplishments they want us all to see the bigger picture.
“The urgency to create change is at an all-time high.” -Carmelo Anthony
“…Kareem Abdul Jabar, Jim Brown, Billie Jean King, Authur Asher…They set a model for what
athletes should stand for, so we choose to follow in their footsteps.” –Chris Paul
“Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop.” –Dwayne Wade
“It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, what are we doing to create change?” –LeBron James
Through their philanthropic work, among the most notable is James’s Foundation which will send approximately 1,100 qualifying students to the University of Akron for FREE, these athletes have been in DoMode, but they’re asking for help of others. The question that has been asked throughout the nation since the horrific events in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, and Dallas is, what can I do? One answer for middle, high school, and college athletes is to reach back and give back. Partner with parents, teachers and principals, and see if there are any younger athletes you can take under your wing. Share the value of their education with them, and all of the benefits of being selfless and helping others. Maybe you can spend time discussing sports, perhaps you can help them with their athletic endeavors, maybe you can catch a game together. Help is help, and at times we all need it. These actions won’t change everything, but maybe this is a piece of creating the change Anthony was talking about. This could be what Paul was alluding to so the very same athletes can follow in your footsteps in the future. This could be the type of effort that can lead to people seeing the value of black and brown bodies, like Wade referred to, and you can answer James’ question of what are you doing to create change. Our problems are multilayered and have centuries of history behind them. But if everyone gets in DoMode and answer the call made by Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, and LeBron James, maybe things can get a little easier.