Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has been among the most outspoken NBA figures regarding the social issues in what has increasingly become a divided United States. It’s been something to pay attention to, as Kerr himself possesses a backstory most of us could scarcely imagine.
Kerr’s family was a victim of terrorism when his father, Malcolm — then the president of American University in Beirut — was killed by gunmen in 1984. Kerr himself spent a lot of his childhood traveling throughout the Middle East. His family was very active in the political scene. And conversations took hold between him and his parents throughout his adolescence.
Whether we agree with Kerr’s politics, we have to understand that his experience makes him able to speak up intelligently about the topics of the day.
Now, in talking about gun violence around the United States, Kerr had a pretty detailed criticism directed at our elected leaders.
“You wonder if any of these Senators and Congressmen and women who are so opposed to even holding a vote on not only the right to buy an automatic weapon but just the background checks and the lists,” Kerr said, via The Mercury News . “How would they feel about this if their own child, their own mother, their own father, sister, brother, wife, husband was murdered. Mass murdered. Would that change your mind? I don’t know, but how many times do we have to go through this before our government actually does something about it?”
Kerr would go on to call America’s gun policies “insane.”
While this has definitely taken a back seat due to the current issues we see in American society today, it’s long been a point of contention for those who advocate harsher gun control policies. Kerr is obviously of the opinion that our nation’s current policies are not sustainable.
But his conversation with Anthony Slater of the Mercury News covered a whole lot more. While he has surely spoken up on the issues of the day, the Western Conference All-Star coach has not sought out opportunities to make a bigger name for himself in the political world.
“I talk to my wife about what she thinks, what’s appropriate, what’s not,” Kerr said. “I’m sensitive to the fact that I’m kind of part of the face of the organization — Steph, KD, Bob (Myers), Joe (Lacob) — we’re all interviewed the most. But I don’t necessarily represent the views of everyone in the organization. So that’s a line I have to walk and I’m wary of. I don’t want to anger anyone in our organization. So I try to say things from a place of practicality.”
That’s an extremely important point to make. Above everything else in the public world, Kerr represents the Golden State Warriors. And while that organization exists in the left-leaning Bay Area and has made it known that it represents inclusion, not everyone within the organization shares Kerr’s world view. They are not all part of his own echo chamber.
It’s a fine line that everyone within the sports world has to walk. What to speak out on. How to balance that with what your employers and those around you view to be professional. For Kerr, it’s been all about learning from the best the basketball world has to offer.
“I remember Phil (Jackson) one time asked our team: ‘How many of you own guns?’” Kerr said. “‘How many of you know that you’re more likely to have a death in your home with a gun than without a gun?’”
He also spoke about the world views of San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who Kerr played under during his extensive NBA career. It’s been a combination of all this that has pushed Kerr himself to speak publicly about the issues of the day.
And it seems as if Warriors players are more than okay with it.
“Coach Kerr has been through so much in his life personally,” Kevin Durant said. “He realizes, checks the pulse of our country and our world. He knows exactly what he’s talking about. He’s so informed and intelligent when it comes to topics, social issues. He gets it and a lot of coaches don’t.”
Kerr’s backstory is definitely something you should read about. The New York Times ran an extensive article about it back in December. You can read that tremendous piece here.