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HISTORY OF NBA ACTIVISM Melo unified teens, police and athletes


George Floyd's death drew reactions from the entire NBA world, as more and more players are getting involved in the fight for justice and equality. People are outraged, and it seems that the whole making-a-change movement is gaining a lot of momentum. Players are fed up and are showing it publicly. The period of inactivity is over.

Times like this put the questions about "should players be involved with social issues" to bed. You don't hear public figures discussing it anymore. In fact, there isn't a living soul who doesn't appreciate it. It's the time to send the message, and what better way to do it than from the NBA platform.

It also makes us more appreciative of players who are a constant voice for the off-court stuff. The league has always had individuals like that. LeBron is the leader of that group, with his Banana Boat teammate Carmelo Anthony following his path.

Back in 2016, Carmelo united community leaders, police, and athletes for a discussion at the Boy & Girls Club in L.A. Other than Melo, "Leadership Together: A Conversation with Our Sons and Daughters“ has hosted a fair share of NBA's familiar faces, with the likes of Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Kyrie Irving, etc. Members of the women's USA basketball team also participated, all with the same goal of seeing both sides.

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The event gathered 80 teenagers, aged 13-23, with most of them being African-American and Latino. Tamika Catchings, a retired WNBA player, joined Melo, and the two led the discussion about the relationship between young African-Americans and the police.

The discussion was described as very productive, as many experiences and stances were shared between two groups. A lot of solutions were brainstormed, with their implementation being a long term one. But it was a step in a positive direction.

Anthony showed appreciation for everyone involved, with the biggest applaud given to the Los Angeles Police Department officers who showed real concern for the issue and were all-in in the conversation.

It was a great effort by Melo. He touched upon a sensitive subject and tried to make a small change in the right direction. Anthony was aware of how deep the problem is and that the solution for it won't come overnight. But he did what he could to accelerate the process.

With the tragic events that took place recently, some may assume that Melo's effort was in vain. I would strongly disagree. This isn't something that will be resolved in such short notice. It will take time for things to change from their roots. It's a process, and people need to be aware of it.

So no, what Melo did wasn't for nothing. It will take a collective effort for a system overhaul. So the more guys do stuff like Anthony, the sooner the end goal will be reached.

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