As the NBA kicks off scrimmages Wednesday in the Orlando “bubble,” several basketball superstars are speaking out to advocate for social justice.
Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Lebron James have each worked to generate change for communities across the country, but Anthony, Paul and Wade are now coming together to invest in and support organizations focused on empowering communities of color and advocating for the human rights of all Black lives.
“There's a lot of things that each one of us have done as individuals, but we see this as an opportunity not only for us to come together and make a bigger impact, [but] just continue to try to make real sustainable change,” Paul told “GMA.”
In an exclusive interview with “Good Morning America,” Anthony, Paul and Wade shared what inspired them to start the Social Change Fund.
“Whether it be health and education, talking about the different types of foods that go into the inner cities … all this goes back to systemic racism," Paul said.
"There's people out there that are a lot smarter than us in some of these situations, so we're going to try to do the work and educate ourselves, but also put our money where our mouth is and keep going,” Paul, who plays as a point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, added.
Through the fund, Anthony, Paul and Wade will focus on many critical issues, such as ending police brutality, criminal justice reform and inclusion, as well as empowering communities of color by expanding access to voting, increasing Black representation in government and building economic equity for Black people through education and employment.
“If you don't have a good roof over your head, if you're not being educated from home, along with [being] educated in the school, [Black people are] going to always be starting from behind and playing catch up. These are certain aspects that we want to attend ASAP,” said Anthony.
“The Social Impact Fund is necessary and timely,” said Topeka K. Sam, the founder and executive director of The Ladies of Hope Ministries and a leading voice in criminal justice reform who will serve as an adviser to the fund. “We have joined this incredible initiative to ensure true equity by guiding resources to community-based organizations that are led by directly impacted people of color.”
The NBA players have been advocating for sports stars to publicly speak out for justice since the 2016 ESPYs. Four years ago, Anthony, Paul, Wade and James delivered a moving speech, calling on their fellow athletes to promote social change after the deaths of unarmed Black men at the hands of police.
“I think right now, with everything that has happened since George Floyd, the last two months, we have even more responsibility,” said Wade, who retired from the NBA in 2019. “[We will not] get worn down at all, we continue to push this to continue to add pressure to the change we want to see.”
Go to website https://www.thesocialchangefund.org to learn more.