Warriors were playing in Texas, hours after school shooting but Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr refused to talk about basketball before his team’s playoff loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Instead he delivered a passionate speech condemning gun violence in the United States.
His team played Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference final in Texas, where earlier in the day at least 21 people, including 19 children, had been killed in a school shooting. Kerr, who has consistently spoken out about gun violence in America and campaigned for gun control, was visibly shaking and on the verge of tears. His father was shot dead in a terrorist attack in Beirut in 1984.
“When are we going to do something,” Kerr shouted at his pre-game press conference. “I’m tired. I am so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I am so tired of the, excuse me, I am sorry, I am tired of the moments of silence. Enough!”
Here is the entirety of his pregame availability, along with a video of his speech.
I’m not going to talk about basketball. Nothing’s happened with our team in the last six hours. We’re going to start the same way tonight. Any basketball questions don’t matter.
Since we left shootaround, 14 children were killed 400 miles from here. And a teacher. In the last 10 days, we’ve had elderly Black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo, we’ve had Asian churchgoers killed in Southern California. Now we have children murdered at school.
When are we going to do something? I’m tired. I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I’m so tired. Excuse me. I’m sorry. I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough!
There’s 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on HR8, which is a background check rule that the House passed a couple years ago. It’s been sitting there for two years. And there’s a reason they won’t vote on it: to hold onto power.
So I ask you, Mitch McConnell, I ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence and school shootings and supermarket shootings. I ask you: Are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children and our elderly and our churchgoers? Because that’s what it looks like. It’s what we do every week.
So I’m fed up. I’ve had enough. We’re going to play the game tonight. But I want every person here, every person listening to this, to think about your own child or grandchild, or mother or father, sister, brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today?
We can’t get numb to this. We can’t sit here and just read about it and go, well, let’s have a moment of silence — yea, Go Dubs. C’mon, Mavs, let’s go. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go play a basketball game.
Fifty senators in Washington are going to hold us hostage. Do you realize that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want background checks — universal background checks? Ninety percent of us. We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote, despite what we, the American people, want.
They won’t vote on it because they want to hold onto their own power. It’s pathetic! I’ve had enough!
Multiple NBA players, including LeBron James, expressed outrage over Tuesday’s shooting. The NBA issued a statement via Twitter:
“The NBA family is devastated by the horrific shooting that took place today in Uvalde, Texas. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences go out to the victims’ family and friends, and the entire Robb Elementary School and Uvalde community.”