Warriors, Celtics don ‘End Gun Violence’ shirts
- Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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SAN FRANCISCO — Coaches and players from the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics wore orange shirts with the message “End Gun Violence” on the front prior to Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr and Celtics coach Ime Udoka both wore the shirts to their pregame news conferences on Sunday night. Kerr delivered an impassioned and angry plea during a pregame news conference in Dallas prior to Game 4 of the Western Conference finals for a change to gun laws after 19 children and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, earlier that day on May 24.
“We feel very strongly as a league that it’s time for people to take notice,” Kerr said on Sunday. “And to take part in what should be a nationwide effort to limit the gun violence that’s out there. And there are ways to limit it. There are proven laws that are waiting to be passed, whether it’s background checks or what have you.
“There are things we can do that would not violate people’s Second Amendment rights, but would save lives. The idea behind wearing the shirts for both teams is to make people aware that they can contribute to different gun safety, gun violence prevention groups.”
On the back of the shirts, there’s a message that reads “LEARN MORE” with the social media handles of organizations looking to end gun violence and support gun control legislation such as “@bradybuzz,” “@everytown,” “@giffordscourage,” “@livefreeusa” and “@marchforourlives.”
San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich spoke at a Stand with Uvalde gathering on Saturday in San Antonio and took aim at government officials to end gun violence.
“How many will it take?” Popovich asked. “A massacre a month? Two massacres a week? Fifteen kids? Twenty-four kids? Where [a shooter will] kill 74 sometime? Then maybe you will do something? Get off your ass! Do something! They work for us. The majority of us want them to do something about the gun laws and they don’t do it because they care more about their power, their position and their money than they do our children.”
Kerr implored people to get out and vote to try to impact change with gun laws.
“The biggest thing I think is to vote,” said Kerr, whose father, Malcolm, was shot and killed in a terrorist attack on the president of the American University in Beirut in 1984. “What I understand is that a lot of congressional races that are out there, despite the fact that the majority of people in this country want gun safety measures put in place, a lot of those races are decided by people who aren’t so much for any kind of gun safety measures. And so people got to vote, and if you feel strongly about saving lives and possibly even someone in your own family, get out and vote.
“That’s the only way to convince the people we need to convince to start implementing gun safety regulation prevention laws, things that we can do to help.”
Udoka spoke out against gun violence during the Eastern Conference finals as well.
“We play a game that if you win, you’re elated and you feel great about it,” Udoka said on Sunday. “You lose, you’re devastated for the moment but it’s not life and death, you still go on. The awareness is about things that continue to happen in our communities. They are devastated and their families are devastated and we kind of go on with our normal life and business. Just continue to keep those thoughts in mind and those people are struggling.
“It continues to happen. And awareness and changes need to be made and we are all on the same page as far as that.”
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