Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony served as the guest editor for SLAM magazine's issue on basketball's role in social justice and activism, and he penned an open letter to "future kings and queens" about their role in the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Growing up, I always thought it was cliche when people told me, 'Life is what you make it' or 'Be all you can be,'" Anthony wrote. "Now that I'm wiser, I understand how much those words influenced me. I want you to know you are the future. No, really—you are the future!"
"The system is broken, the problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new, but the urgency for change is definitely at an all-time high," he said at the time.
The cause has been brought back to the forefront by large-scale protests that spanned around the globe after George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed while in Minneapolis Police custody in May.
In SLAM, Anthony urged the younger generation to overcome their fears and make an impact:
"You may feel stuck. You may feel lost. You may be confused. I'm sure you have so many questions. The unknown is what keeps you up at night, but I want you to know your thoughts are POWERFUL. Believe me when I say this, you will get through this fog and uncertainty. Know you can do anything you set your mind to. Learn to trust your instinct. Get rid of that doubt. challenge your fears, overcome them and make them your strengths. Your circumstances do not define who you are as a young man, especially a black boy. It's hard for me to tell you not to be afraid. I'm still afraid.
"The struggle of life is, and always will be, a struggle against your own weakness. Will you become cowardly and think, 'I can't do this. I'm certain to fail?' Or will you challenge the difficulties that lie ahead with the courage of your convictions and tell yourself, 'I AM STRONG! Oh, and by the way, I'M BLACK AND I'M PROUD?' You're probably questioning whether or not you can become stronger still. Your destiny in life will vary greatly depending on the spirit that you maintain and where you allow it to take you. Just like anything else in life, there will be good and there will be evil. The key is in how you work to overcome that evil, and harness that energy to turn it into power."
Anthony, who appears on the issue's cover along with 13-year-old son Kiyan Anthony, also explained the fight for racial justice will take a sustained effort.
"Remember these words: LOVE, HELL and RIGHT," he wrote. "If you love it, you will go through hell and with time and patience you will come out right!!!!!!"
Anthony and the Blazers are part of the NBA's 22-team resumption of the 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Their first game is scheduled for July 31 against the Memphis Grizzlies.