Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn’t have the height for the National Basketball Association, but his skills in finance made him a towering figure in big city politics and in social activism as perhaps the country’s foremost advocate against gun violence.
Now some NBA stars, notably two familiar to North Carolinians, are making TV commercials pinpointing gun violence. It’s part of a campaign run by a nonprofit that’s part of Bloomberg’s organization. The former mayor has long been outraged by the lobbying power of the National Rifle Association, which has intimidated federal politicians despite public support for gun control laws.
Steph Curry, of the Golden State Warriors and formerly of Davidson College, is making a commercial in which he says, “I heard about a shooting involving a 3-year-old girl over the summer. My daughter Riley’s that age.”
And Chris Paul, the Wake Forest alum now with the Los Angeles Clippers, also has a commercial in which his most powerful line is, “My parents used to say: ‘A bullet doesn’t have a name on it.’”
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Movie producer-director Spike Lee was reported to be the force behind the ads by The New York Times. Bloomberg, politically fearless as a billionaire, apparently isn’t worried about the criticism that’s certain to come his way from fans who are opposed to gun control or any laws curbing access to firearms.
Paul and Curry are both popular players, which should help. But the main positive force here is the message itself; the United States has been the scene of horrific gun violence in the last few years, much of it involving innocent bystanders, including children. Any effort such as this ought to be helpful in at least raising awareness.