Remember Riley Curry? Fans and non-fans alike may recall when her dad, Stephen Curry, and the Golden State Warriors were en route to the NBA title earlier this year, and there was the then-2-year-old Riley, the girl who won the hearts of many when she stole the show at her dad’s post-game press conferences. She was yawning, waving to reporters and telling her dad to “be quiet.”
But in a TV advertisement that aired on Christmas, the Warriors point guard alludes to Riley in a starkly different way.
“I heard about a shooting involving a 3-year-old girl over the summer,” Curry said in the ad. “My daughter Riley is that age.”
It’s something the public had not seen much, at least until recently: A prominent athlete involved in social activism. And this time, it’s not just Curry. This PSA also features New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul.
The Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund collaborated with the NBA and Spike Lee to create the public service announcement on ending gun violence. In addition to the NBA stars, the ad also includes gun violence survivors that are part of the Everytown Survivor Network. According to Everytown, 88 Americans are killed with guns every day. This is the first of several Everytown PSAs on this subject directed by Spike Lee.
“You can go around the corner and get a gun, you can go to this person and get a gun — it’s just too easy, too accessible,” Anthony said. “And it’s going to be like that until we decide, as people, to fight against that.”
The PSA with the NBA stars debuted on Christmas — a day in which the NBA dominates the sports landscape — on ESPN and ABC.
Lee, who is part of Everytown’s creative council, met with ESPN President John Skipper in November to present the idea of the PSAs, which was later shown to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
The players, who have interviews posted on Everytown’s Youtube channel, were on board from the start.
“Throughout my career in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and traveling around the country, I’ve seen that gun violence is ending more than just lives — it’s ending hope for a lot of people,” said the Clippers’ Paul. “As a father and a professional athlete, I know there are people counting on me to send the right message and set an example. So I want to lead others to raise ourselves up from gun violence and save lives. I’m proud to spread the message that we can accomplish an America free from gun violence.”
Noah considers Chicago a second home, as he’s played for the Bulls for his entire 9-year NBA career. But as much as he loves the city, Noah said, the biggest issue is the gun violence and that “the access to the guns is out of control.”
“The reality is there’s a lot of kids around this country who feel like they have no hope, and they’re using guns at an alarming rate,” Noah said. “That doesn’t really happen anywhere else. As great as America is, we have to be critical, and I think it’s definitely time for a change to try to help these kids.”
Curry said he wanted to do the PSA because he thinks the culture can be changed. And as the father of two young daughters, it’s an issue close to his heart.
“I don’t know what I would do if I got a call if, you know, my daughter’s gone,” Curry said. “No parent should ever have to go through that.”
“Whatever we can do to hopefully change our culture, that’s what we’re here for. I have a voice, and I want to share it and stop gun violence in its entirety.”