Carmelo Anthony already has a great legacy in the Syracuse area from his time leading the beloved 2003 Orangemen to the school’s first NCAA National Championship in college hoops. That’s not to mention that he has donated $3 million to the school he spent his lone freshman year of college at for the construction of the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center, which opened in 2009. It appears Anthony is trying to expand that legacy in even greater ways as he grows into one of the NBA’s most veteran superstars.
According to USA Today, Anthony was something of the catalyst behind the powerful speech that he, Lebron James, Chris Paul, and Dwyane Wade made to start off ESPN’s annual ESPY Award ceremony on Wednesday, July 13.
The idea came about the same way most things are in today’s day and age: social media. Anthony took to Instagram on a Friday, less than a week before the ceremony was set to air, with a call-to-action.
“NO more sitting back and being afraid of tackling and addressing political issues anymore,” he wrote. “Those days are long gone. We have to step up and take charge. We can’t worry about what endorsements we gonna lose or whose going to look at us crazy. I need your voices to be heard. We can demand change. We just have to be willing to. THE TIME IS NOW. IM all in. Take Charge. Take Action. DEMAND CHANGE.”
This is believed to have set the wheels in motion for what would be an emotional and inspiring red carpet event. Most people love these type of events as much as they do the actual material (carpet accounts for about 51% of the flooring market), but Anthony and three other NBA superstars decided they wanted to use the platform for more than just a good time.
It was Anthony’s long-time close friend, Lebron James, who actually reached out to ESPY producer Maura Mandt pitching the idea, which makes sense when you consider the kind of influence James likely holds in the sports arena.
“We quickly arranged a conference call on Monday afternoon for Maura and I to get on the phone with all four of them at once to hear what they intended to say and the message they wanted to convey. After listening, we decided that the powerful message should live at the top of the show,” Connor Schell, the senior vice president and executive producer of ESPN Films and Original Content who oversees the ESPYs told For The Win in a statement through an ESPN spokesperson.
Their message was one that people from both sides of the political aisle could agree with.
“I know tonight we’re honoring Muhammad Ali, the GOAT, but to do his legacy any justice, let’s use this moment as call to action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence,” James said.
Added Anthony, “We cannot ignore the realities of the current state of America. The events of the past week have put a spotlight on the injustice, distrust and anger that have plagued so many of us. The system is broken, but the urgency to create change is at an all-time high.”