CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James has spoken out about gun violence in the United States of America many times throughout his 14-year NBA career, and he took to social media Monday to send his thoughts and prayers to those affected by the tragic events in Las Vegas.
In the post, James implored his 38.7 million Twitter followers to “Pray for Vegas.”
Pray for Vegas!! 🤦🏾♂️. What the hell is going on people!?!? My prayers sent to the heavens above for all the families 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/wDpwZ7g4Pz— LeBron James (@KingJames) October 2, 2017
On Sunday night, Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino onto a crowd of concert goers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival while country superstar Jason Aldean was performing on stage.
At least 50 people were killed and 400 more were injured from gunshot wounds and the ensuing stampede as the crowd scattered in every direction to seek shelter.
Sunday night’s shooting in Las Vegas is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, surpassing the events at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016.
In October of 2015, James spoke out when a five-month old child was shot and killed in Cleveland.
At that time, James took to Twitter to express his feelings, and later, used a press conference to implore people to do better than always resorting to violence.
“It’s not the first time that it’s happened, but it’s been happening a little too much recently,” James said at the time. “I think in the last four weeks, four kids under the age of five have been shot and killed or very badly injured. There’s no room for that. There’s no room for guns, first of all, but then, for violence toward kids or anybody.
“Having kids of your own, I see the news go across my phone and I’m sitting in front of my three kids, so it automatically hit me. I was just getting my voice out there and letting people know. It’s not just in Cleveland. It’s all over. If you’ve seen my message, I used the hashtag, ‘The Nation’ as well because it’s our whole nation that goes through this as well. We all hurt from it.”
Then, following the events at Pulse Nightclub and multiple police-involved shootings of unarmed African-American men, James joined with fellow NBA players, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul in opening the 2016 ESPY Awards broadcast with a passionate plea to end gun violence in America.
“We all feel helpless and frustrated by the violence,” James said. “We do, but that’s not acceptable. It’s time to look in the mirror and ask ourselves, ‘What are we doing to create change?’ It’s not about being a role model. It’s not about our responsibilities for the tradition of activism.
“Tonight, we’ll honor Muhammad Ali, The G.O.A.T (The Greatest of All Time), but to do his legacy any justice, let’s use this moment as a call for action for all professional athletes to educate ourselves, explore these issues, speak up, use our influence and renounce all violence, and most importantly, go back to our communities, invest our time, our resources, help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them. We all have to do better.”