US & Canada

NBA stars appear in anti-gun violence advertisement

Basketball stars Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Stephen Curry Image copyright Reuters/AP
Image caption Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Stephen Curry (from L to R) are among the stars taking part

Stars from the US National Basketball Association (NBA) are speaking out against gun violence in advertisements being aired from Christmas Day.

The first features players and gun violence victims calling on Americans to back efforts to end shootings.

The advertisements are sponsored by campaigners Everytown for Gun Safety.

Gun control is rarely out of the spotlight in the US with common mass shootings but remains a polarising topic.

President Barack Obama - who told the BBC this year a lack of changes on US gun laws was the "greatest frustration" of his presidency - has expressed support for the campaign.

"I'm proud of the NBA for taking a stand against gun violence," he tweeted. "Sympathy for victims isn't enough - change requires all of us speaking up."

The first television advertisement does not mention the phrase "gun control", nor calls for specific policy changes.

Instead, the stars, such as Chris Paul of the LA Clippers and Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks share personal thoughts on the issue.

"I heard about a shooting of a three-year old girl over the summer, my three-year-old daughter Riley is that age," said another star, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

The move has "little precedent in professional sports", according to the New York Times.