NBA legend Steve Kerr refused to discuss basketball before his team’s playoff game against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, instead delivering an impassioned speech condemning gun violence in the United States.
Kerr’s emotional speech came afterwards Nineteen children and two adults died in a shooting at a south Texas elementary school.
The shooter, believed to be 18-year-old former student Salvador Ramos, opened fire at Robb Elementary School, which teaches children ages seven to 10.
Ramos, who was killed by police, had a pistol, an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and high-capacity magazines, according to investigators.
Eight-time NBA champion Kerr, who has long been a gun control advocate, said: “When are we going to do something? I am tired.
“I’m so tired of standing up here and offering my condolences to the devastated families out there. I’m so tired of the moments of silence, sorry, I’m sorry, I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough!’
Kerr, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, has repeatedly backed a bill that would require stricter background checks on gun buyers. The bill passed in 2021 but failed to make it into the Senate.
Kerr, who lost his father in a terrorist attack in Beirut in 1984, added: “I’m asking you, Mitch McConnell (the Senate Minority Leader), I’m asking you all the senators who refuse to do anything about the violence and the shootings in schools and supermarkets.
“I ask you: will you put your own desire for power over the lives of our children and our elderly and our churchgoers? Because that’s what it looks like. We do that every week.”
Before leaving the press conference, Kerr banged his fists on the table and exclaimed, “It’s pathetic. I’ve had enough.’
Kerr’s Golden State Warriors were beaten by the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals but still lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 as they attempt to reach the NBA Finals.
Steve Kerr’s full press conference
“I won’t talk about basketball, nothing happened to my team in the last six hours. We’re going to start the same way tonight. Any basketball questions don’t matter.
“Since we left the practice, 14 children and a teacher have been killed 400 miles from here. And in the last ten days we’ve been killing older black people in Buffalo, we’ve been killing Asian churchgoers in southern California. And now we have children who were murdered at school.
“When do we do what? I’m tired, I’m so tired of standing up here and offering my condolences to the devastated families out there. I’m so tired.
“I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough! There are currently 50 senators who refuse to vote on the HRA, which is a background check rule passed by the House of Representatives a few years ago. It has been there for two years.
“There’s a reason they won’t vote on this to stay in power. That’s why I’m asking you, Mitch McConnell, I’m asking you all the senators who refuse to do anything about violence in school and supermarket shootings. I ask you: will you put our own desire for power over the lives of our children, our elderly, and our churchgoers, because that’s the way it is.
“We do that every week. 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 their own child, grandchild, mother, father, sister, brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today?
“We can’t turn a blind eye to it. We can’t sit here and just read the headlines and say, “Well, let’s just have a moment of silence.”
“Are you aware that 90% of Americans – regardless of political party – want background checks? 90% of Americans. We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who are refusing to vote on it despite what the people want. They won’t vote on it because they want to hold on to their power.
“It’s pathetic, I’ve had enough.”
Mavericks coach Jason Kidd also addressed the shooting in his pregame interview, saying, “It’s with a really heavy heart that we’re going to play for the community, for the school at Robb Elementary School, tonight.
“As coaches, as dads, we have kids, people in this room have kids, elementary school; You can only think about what might happen to your family or friends in a school.’
NBA star Steph Curry praised his manager Kerr after the powerful press conference, saying he “can’t even imagine the pain” families are going through.
“I guess his [Kerr] Guide. Everyone was talking about coming into the game,” Curry said.
“I have kids, send them to school every day, drop them off and you empathize with the parents who are going through what they are going through. I can’t even imagine the pain.
“For the coach who came here and said what he said – every word he said was powerful, meaningful. I accept this challenge to try to use my voice and my platform to hopefully contribute to change.
“You could tell what it meant to him to step in front of you and use that mic to say what he said. So I appreciate his leadership in that regard.’
LeBron James, meanwhile, wrote on social media: “My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of loved ones who were lost and injured at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX!
‘How when is enough enough man!!! These are children and we keep putting them in danger at school. How seriously IN SCHOOL where it’s supposed to be safest!’
Kerr, 56, won five NBA titles as a player — three with the Chicago Bulls and two with the San Antonio Spurs — and has led the Warriors to three titles as a head coach.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/05/25/texas-school-shooting-nba-legend-steve-kerr-makes-emotional-gun-control-plea-16708145/ Texas school shooting: NBA legend Steve Kerr calls for gun control