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LeBron, D-Wade, Melo and CP3 teamed up for something more important than basketball

Good morning. We have that and more in Thursday's NBA newsletter.

Good morning. Let's basketball.

BRAVERY: At the ESPYs on Wednesday, four NBA superstar friends -- Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James -- gave a passionate three-minute speech on the responsibility of athletes to unite communities in these times of mistrust and violence. Reports suggest they approached ABC with the idea and request. Bless them. Stephen Curry also gave a strong speech about gun violence in introducing the Arthur Ashe Award winner.

(There's also a new VICE Sports video piece with Melo on gun violence. And he has a piece in The Guardian on the topic. Melo's leadership on this issue is wonderful.)

AND 1: Craig Sager on his fight against cancer at the ESPYs while accepting the Jimmy V Award.

HACKING LIVES: I wrote about how the NBA needed to end intentional fouling forever, and didn't.

TIM DUNCAN WRITES A GOODBYE LETTER.

FREE RUSSELL: Howard Beck says a Russell Westbrook trade could come sooner rather than later.

YES YES YES: NBA free agency as Pokemon Go. A wild Boban Marjanovic appears!

FUN: Mike Prada tracked some of the most weird jerseys at Summer League. We're talking Blazers Pippen, Vancouver Mike Bibby, Lower Merion High ...

FASCINATING: The service academies can now allow graduates to move straight to the Reserves without a two-year active duty commitment if they get a pro sports contract. (You'll remember that David Robinson's graduated from Annapolis, was drafted No. 1 overall, did two years in the Navy, and then won Rookie of the Year and eventually an MVP.) Via REDEF.

WE COME TO DESTROY ALL THAT YOU HOLD DEAR: Small ball is the way of the world right now, but Ricky O'Donnell tells us all about the five-star big men who are coming to destroy the paradigm in a few years.

Happy Thursday. Be excellent to each other.

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How Tim Duncan retired versus how Kobe did it

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