On a night not meant for basketball, Golden State coach Steve Kerr wiped away a tear and then passionately called for action after 19 children and two adults were murdered in Uvalde a few hours before the Mavericks and Warriors played Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.

Kerr did not take questions in his pregame news conference. He talked sternly about the mass shooting in South Texas, about which facts and casualties still were being uncovered as he spoke.

“Since we left shootaround, 14 children were killed 400 miles from here, and a teacher,” Kerr said before the numbers were updated as the night went along. “And in the last 10 days, we’ve had elderly black people killed at a supermarket in Buffalo, we’ve had Asian churchgoers killed in southern California. And now we have children murdered at school.

“When are we going to do something? I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I’m so tired. I’m tired of the moments of silence.


Kerr has been outspoken about many issues, and it comes from the heart, particularly when it involves gun violence.

When Kerr was 18, he lost his father when Islamic extremists killed Dr. Malcolm Kerr in Beirut, Lebanon, where Steve Kerr was born.

Kerr chastised government officials for not putting the best interests of the United States ahead of personal agendas.

He cited H.R. 8, a bipartisan bill that passed in the House of Representatives on March 11, 2021. The bill would require background checks on all gun sales, which seems like a common-sense first step toward addressing gun violence. It has yet to get through the senate.

“There’s 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on H.R. 8,” Kerr said. “It’s been sitting there for two years. And there’s a reason they won’t vote on it – to hold onto power. I ask you, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), 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.”

The Mavericks did, indeed, have a moment of silence before Tuesday’s game. But that didn’t tell the story of how a mass shooting like what happened at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde can impact everybody. The mood among many at American Airlines Center was decidedly heavy-hearted.

Basketball seemed far less important on this night.

“Our hearts go out to the victims and family of the horrific events in Uvalde, Texas,” Mavericks’ coach Jason Kidd said. “We send our condolences to our fellow Texans and will keep them in our hearts. We truly will play with heavy hearts tonight.

It’s tough. As coaches or fathers, we have kids. Elementary school, you just think about what could take place with any of your family or friends at a school. And so, whoo . . . We’re going try to play the game. We have no choice. The game is not going to be canceled. We have to find a way to be a 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.”

Kidd said he found out about the news when he got to the arena.

Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall sent out her thoughts and prayers via Twitter:

“My heart aches as I pull into this arena. All I can do right now is pray for so many families who are losing loved ones. Please pray! And then we need to act! ENOUGH!”

Kerr said that all Americans need to keep events like this at the forefront of their minds and not allow them to fade.

“I’m fed up, I’ve had enough,” he said, pounding his fist on the table. “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, 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. Yeah, go Dubs. Come on Mavs, let’s go. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go play a basketball game. And 50 senators in Washington are going to hold us hostage.”

Kerr explained that most of America wants background checks for firearms purchases.

“You realize that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want universal background checks — 90 percent of us,” he said. “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 on to their own power. It’s pathetic. I’ve had enough.”

And with that, after a 2-minute, 50-second unleashing of emotions, he left the news conference.

Twitter: @ESefko

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