Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah reacts after scoring in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, in Philadelphia. Chicago won 96-89. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Updated: June 16, 2013 12:10PM
When I make a big play or score or hit a jump shot, I blaze my guns. What started out as an inside joke with one of my teammates during practice somehow became one of my signature moves. People called it controversial or even irresponsible to simulate shooting guns on the court in a place like Chicago, where gang and gun violence are rampant. I shrugged it off, saying that blazing my guns was just like shooting guns into the air, symbolic of a memorable moment. But I’ve decided that out of solidarity with the families who lost a loved one in the unspeakable and horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., I will no longer do that on the court.
I don’t intend for this column to be political, but when speaking of gun violence in the United States it becomes just that. Gun violence in this country is a problem. A lot of talk has arisen about reforming gun control legislation and policies in this country, and it clearly has a polarizing effect on us Americans. I’m not assuming to be a pro on the subject, but I think it’s common knowledge to say that when a young man can take a legally bought assault rifle with high-capacity ammunition clips to kill 27 people — 20 of them children — our country has a problem. A big problem. Obviously guns will not disappear overnight. And although the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms, the accessibility to assault weapons, the loopholes to obtain them, and the lax background checks clearly show that some form of political action must be taken.
On Dec. 14, the parents of 20 children were heartbroken and the entire country was left in shock. There are 34 gun-related deaths each day, and up to 12,000 a year. Aurora, Newtown, Virginia Tech, Columbine — when will we finally say enough is enough?
I am a basketball player, not a politician, but I cannot help but feel concerned about this as a citizen in this country.
For every man, woman and child who dies to gun violence, a mother or father’s heart is shattered or a child is left an orphan. I can imagine that no words could ever describe their pain. I hope that the tears of these mothers will not be in vain, but act as a reminder to us all that no kids should ever die from a preventable death like gun violence.
P.S. Rock Your Drop.
Joakim Noah donated his fee for writing this column to his foundation, noahsarcfoundation.org..