NEW YORK — NBA players aren’t just worried about their teams as they start a new season.

They’re concerned for their country.

The usual basketball clichés that dominate media days gave way to serious talk about social injustice and violence in communities, with players wanting to be involved in finding solutions but acknowledging they don’t know yet how.

“Some of the things that I’ve been addressing over this past summer, I think we’re still in the same state. I think it’s actually getting worse and it will continue to get worse,” Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony said Monday. “We still have to kind of keep the conversations going.”

Anthony was among the highest-profile and most outspoken players following the killing of black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota in July, joining friends and fellow stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul in a powerful opening to the ESPY Awards and continuing to speak out while playing for the U.S. Olympic team.

But recent killings by police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Charlotte, North Carolina, captured on video have convinced those players that progress they seek hasn’t arrived.

“Obviously, I know things don’t happen overnight, but it doesn’t seem like there is any change,” James told The Associated Press. “We just want the conversation to continue to be, ‘Who are our leaders? Who are our true leaders that are going to help us change what’s going on?’ Everyone is looking for that and no one knows.”

Players praised San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for bringing attention with his peaceful protest of kneeling during the national anthem. James, Anthony, NBA MVP Stephen Curry and others said they would continue to stand – as NBA rules stipulate – and hoped players could find meaningful ways to work with their teammates instead of individually.

BUCKS: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he’s eager to work with Bucks president Peter Feigin to improve the city’s race relations after the NBA executive last week told the Madison Rotary Club that Milwaukee is the “most segregated, racist place” he has seen.

However, Feigin said Tuesday in a statement that he didn’t intend to characterize the city as “overtly racist,” that it’s “a terrific community with wonderful people” and he is “proud to be a part of it.” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Barrett said that Feigin and the Bucks’ ownership team “seem to be a willing partner” to address the racial disparities in the city of 600,000 along Lake Michigan, which a 2012 Manhattan Institute analysis of census data found is the country’s most segregated metropolitan area, surpassing Chicago, Cleveland and Detroit.

In May, the Bucks’ owners agreed to pay workers at the new $500 million downtown arena at least $12 per hour by next year. The agreement also includes provisions to protect workers’ ability to unionize and ensure that the team hires workers from Milwaukee’s poorest neighborhoods.