Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr refused to talk about basketball before his team’s playoff loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night, instead delivering 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 18 children, had been killed in a school shooting. Kerr is a long-time advocate of gun control. 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!”
Kerr has repeatedly backed a bill that would require tighter background checks on people buying firearms. The bill passed the US House of Representatives in 2021 but did not get to the Senate.
Kerr looked into the camera before addressing the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell. “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.”
Before he left the press conference, Kerr slammed his fists against the table and delivered a final message. “It’s pathetic. I’ve had enough,” he said.
Mavericks coach Jason Kidd also spoke about the shooting in his pre-game comments.
“We will truly play with heavy hearts tonight for the community, for the school of Robb Elementary School,” Kidd said. “As coaches, as fathers, we have kids, people in this room have kids, elementary school; you can just think about what could take place with any of your family or friends at a school. This is on-the-run job training, and we are going to try to play the game. We have no choice.
“The game is not going to be canceled. But we have to find a way to be pro and find a way to win and move forward. But the news of what is happening, not just here in Texas but throughout our country, is sad.”
The Mavericks beat the Warriors 119-109, but still trail the Warriors 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. The winner will advance to the NBA finals, where they will play the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics.