Steve Kerr’s pregame press conference had nothing to do with basketball ahead of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals between the Warriors and Mavericks on Tuesday. Instead, the Warriors head coach delivered a three-minute monologue in response to Tuesday’s shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which left at least 19 students and two adults dead.
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 at times during his address to the media on Tuesday. 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!
Kerr’s father, Malcolm, was killed by gunmen in 1984 while serving as the president of the American University of Beirut. The Warriors coach has spoken out against various shootings over the course of the past several years, imploring government officials to make meaningful changes to America’s gun control laws.
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.”
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Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd also addressed the shooting prior to Game 4.
“It’s tough. You know, as coaches or fathers, we have kids. People in this room have kids. Elementary school. You just think about what could take place with any of your family or friends at a school,” Kidd said. “This is on-the-run job training. We’re 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, find a way to win, and move forward.
“But the news of what’s happening, not just here in Texas but throughout our country, is sad.”
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