East Bay Person of the Year: An Unselfish Warrior

Steve Kerr is a champion both on and off the court, but he never takes the credit.


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Given what happened to his father, it is perhaps not surprising that Kerr has long advocated for more gun control in the United States.

He referenced that personal tragedy in October after a sniper opened fire on concertgoers in Las Vegas, killing 59 people. “I know exactly how they feel, having lost my dad to gun violence,” Kerr said in a podcast. “You can’t explain the pain that this brings.”

Myers said Kerr does not adopt positions blithely. “For him to comment on that, it comes from a very sacred place,” Myers said. “He does try to educate himself on his opinions. He is constantly reading. He doesn’t say things lightly. He thinks a lot.”

In November, Kerr again called for action on gun control after a mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, left 26 people dead. “Our government has to lead the way, and they can’t just cave into the NRA just because they want to make money,” Kerr said. “They have to put people’s safety and health over the interest of the gun lobby and the gun industry.

“Doesn’t seem like it would be that far of a stretch, but for whatever reason, we’re paralyzed and unable to do anything to protect our citizens. It’s disgusting and it’s a shame.”

Myers said one of the things Kerr loves about his current hometown, Berkeley, is the diversity and the independent spirit of its citizens. “He loves the independence of it. He likes the outspokenness and the passion and the unwillingness to conform at times to things that the community doesn’t believe,” Myers said.

As for Kerr’s boss, Lacob said he supports Kerr and players speaking out, though he does not necessarily agree on all issues.

The important thing, he said, is that they express themselves with dignity and respect for the team and the NBA.

“We’re not in the business of telling people not to talk,” Lacob said. “The important point is how you treat other people.”

It may help that Kerr’s political views have largely reflected the prevalent disposition of the overwhelmingly liberal Bay Area. Kerr celebrated that fact on Oct. 25 when he took time to talk about the importance of the Warriors hosting LGBTQ night at Oracle Arena.

“I want to say first of all that I’m proud to be part of an organization and with a region and area that embraces diversity, and there’s never been a more important time in our country to respect the person next to you regardless of race, creed, color, sexual preference, sexual identity,” Kerr said. “We’re all human beings. We’re all in this together.”


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