A new anti-gun violence ad featuring several NBA stars is set to air Christmas Day, but the league insists that it's staying neutral on the hot-button, political issue of gun control.
Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony and Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers appear in the 30-second NBA ad, sponsored in partnership with the gun control advocacy group Everytown USA started by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The ad will air Friday during five NBA match-ups to be played on ESPN and ABC. The league emphasized to the New York Times that it did not have significant internal deliberations about the partnership with Everytown USA because the work was done with the anti-gun group's educational arm, not its political lobby.
“The public service announcement airing during our Christmas Day games highlights victims’ and a few of our players’ experiences with gun violence and is solely intended to raise awareness about the issue of personal safety in our communities,” NBA chief spokesman Mike Bass said.
Bass added that the ad does not “advocate for any change in law or policy.” Instead, the focus is on “trying to make our communities stronger and safer for kids and families.”
The NBA stars are joined in the ad by someone who makes no secret of his advocacy for stricter gun laws: Richard Martinez, whose son, Christopher, a student at the University of California-Santa Barbara, was killed in a 2014 shooting rampage.
President Obama has applauded the basketball league for "taking a stand against gun violence."
"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," Obama tweeted Wednesday.
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