TORONTO (Reuters) – Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr delivered a pointed message via a T-shirt on Sunday, urging people to vote for those who will bring change to America’s gun laws.
Kerr, speaking before Sunday’s Game Two of the NBA Finals, stepped onto the podium for his pre-game news conference wearing a black T-shirt with “Vote For Our Lives” across the front.
Kerr has spoken out on several social issues but has long been a passionate advocate for tighter gun laws and his comments came after a public utility employee opened fire on co-workers at a municipal building in Virginia Beach on Friday killing 12.
“The shirt has everything to do with the tragedy in Virginia Beach a couple days ago, and how devastated so many families are and so many people are,” said Kerr, who returned to the podium after the Warriors’ win over Toronto wearing the same shirt.
“The shirt is a reminder that the only way we can get out of this mess is to actually vote, and to vote for people who are going to be willing to create some change in our gun laws in our country.
“The young generation, the March For Our Lives generation, has really inspired me.
“So I offer my support to them and to all young people, and hope that we can create a change where we don’t all have to walk around scared we’re going to get shot in our country.”
Kerr is not your average NBA coach.
Born in Beirut, he grew up in Middle East where his father Malcolm, was killed in Lebanon in 1984 by Shia militia.
A deep thinker with a social conscience who long ago made it clear he understands there are bigger things in life than basketball, Kerr’s comments came with the Warriors poised for one of their biggest games of the season.
With Barack Obama among the crowd at the Scotiabank Arena, Kerr was asked what moments stuck out about the former-U.S. Presidents interaction with the team.
Playing in their fifth straight finals and winning three, the Warriors have had many chances to visit the White House but made the trip only once when in 2015 when Obama was president.
Since Donald Trump moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave politics and basketball have not been a good mix.
When the Warriors won the title in 2017 team leader Stephen Curry and other team members said they would not attend a White House reception to honor them.
The White House later rescinded the invitation.
“Well, the White house visit, for sure, after the 2015 championship,” said Kerr reflecting on his Obama interactions.
“That was quite a thrill to visit there and have the whole team there. It’s a treat to experience that.”
Editing by Peter Rutherford