The Heartbreaking Family Tragedy Behind NBA Coach Steve Kerr’s Emotional Gun Plea

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr held a passionate plea for gun control on Tuesday after a… deadly primary school shooting in Texas that killed more than 20 people.

“I’m not going to talk about basketball today. No basketball question matters,” Kerr said before his team lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the Game 4 playoff.

He targeted politicians for their passivity to America’s epidemic of gun violence, yelling, “When are we going to do something?”

His press conference ended with a final, painful chorus: “It’s pathetic. I’m done with it.”

Fri 27 May

Friday 27 May

Kerr has been a tireless advocate for gun reform, but there is a personal heartbreak behind his call for change that is long overdue.

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The Golden State coach’s father, Malcolm Kerr, was himself a victim of gun violence. Kerr, a respected college professor with expertise in Middle Eastern and Arabic studies, became president of the American University of Beirut in Lebanon in 1982.

At the time, the country was embroiled in a civil war between factions supported by foreign nations, including Israel and Syria. US citizens in Lebanon were targeted after the US government sent Marines to the country in a failed attempt to bring about peace. The US embassy in Beirut was bombed in a suicide car bomb attack in April 1983, while US and French barracks in the city were similarly attacked in October of that year.

And on January 18, 1984, Malcolm Kerr was shot by two assailants outside his college office.

At the time, Steve Kerr was an 18-year-old freshman at the University of Arizona. He was hardly a superstar in high school and had received little interest from the college superpowers. Few predicted that he would become an NBA champion with Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, or a great coach with the Warriors.

Steve Kerr of the Chicago Bulls (R) in the 1996 playoffs. Mandatory credit: Doug PensSource: Getty Images

Steve Kerr rarely speaks publicly or privately about his father’s murder. But in ESPNs The last dance documentary, an emotional Kerr opened the moment he was informed of his father’s death.

“So I got a call from a family friend in the middle of the night,” Kerr said. “At 3am, my phone rang in my dorm room, so I knew something was up. He just said, “Steve, I have terrible news.” So yes.

“Basketball was the only thing I could do to take my mind off what had happened. So I went to practice the next day. I didn’t know what else to do.”

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The next day, U.S. President Ronald Reagan said in a statement: “Dr. Kerr’s untimely and tragic death at the hands of these despicable killers should reinforce our determination not to give in to the acts of terrorists.

“Terrorism must not take control of the lives, actions or future of ourselves and our friends.”

In 1993 Kerr spoke with the Chicago Tribune about the consequences of his father’s death.

“Before my father was killed, my life was impenetrable,” he told the Tribune.

“Bad things have happened to other people. I thought I was immune to something like that, and so was my family.”

“Something like that opens your eyes,” he says. “It made me understand the pain that others experience, the effect that death can have. It made me realize that millions of people experience these things.”

In Arizona, Kerr would go on to become a college star and an All-American roster before being selected in the second round by the Phoenix Suns in the 1988 draft. His career would include five championships as a player, culminating in an incredible winning shot against the Jazz in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals.

Now he is chasing a fourth ring as a coach after leading the Warriors to victory in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Steve Kerr was distraught when he spoke of the latest senseless violence.Source: YouTube

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But despite the end of a postseason in full swing, Kerr is using his position – and family tragedy – to push for much-needed reforms. And America listens.

His emotional press conference quickly went viral and was widely supported by members of the NBA community, including LeBron James and Trae Young.

After the match, Warriors’ star Steph Curry paid tribute to Kerr. “I appreciate his leadership. It was on everyone’s mind to get into the game.

“It was kind of hard to stay focused on knowing I play basketball and knowing what happened in this state (Texas).

“I have children, send them to school every day, drop them off and you feel for the parents who are going through what they are going through.

“I can’t even imagine the pain.

Stephen Curry paid tribute to coach Kerr after the game.Source: AFP

“For the coach to come here and say what he said – every word he said was powerful, made sense. I accept that challenge of trying to use my voice and platform to hopefully make a difference.

“You could see what it meant to him to come before all of you and use this microphone to say what he said. So I appreciate his leadership in that.”

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