Spike Lee Partners With NBA for Gun Safety Ads Featuring Star Players

Associated Press
Spike Lee

The campaign, sponsored by Everytown for Gun Safety, will launch during a series of big match-ups on Dec. 25.

Spike Lee has partnered with the National Basketball Association and the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety to launch a series of TV ads calling for an end to gun violence.

The Lee-directed ads will air on Christmas Day, which traditionally features high-profile NBA match-ups — this year including a rematch of the 2015 finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and defending champion Golden State Warriors.

In addition to some of the NBA's most recognized and respected players, including Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls), Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks) and Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers), the ads also feature the testimonies of victims of gun violence and relatives of those killed by guns.

Lee, whose latest film Chiraq confronts gun violence, saw another avenue for promoting gun safety and pitched the idea of a campaign to ESPN president John Skipper, The New York Times reported. Skipper then approached NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who secured the involvement of the league and its Players Association, an NBA spokesperson confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

The league stated that the NBA, its Players' Association and ESPN ads were created in partnership with non-profit Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, which is the 5013-C charity affiliated with the Everytown group, but does not itself advocate for gun legislation.

Everytown for Gun Safety, which Lee has collaborated with in the past, was founded in 2014 when former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's advocacy organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America combined forces. 

Lee is a member of Everytown's Creative Council — founded by Julianne Moore — which counts many Hollywood heavyweights among its ranks, including J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Lawrence and Ron Howard.

In one TV spot for the campaign, Curry describes hearing that a 3-year-old girl had been shot, saying, "My daughter Riley's that age." Paul recalls his parents' caution that "a bullet doesn't have a name on it."