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    Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr on LGBT Pride Night: ‘We’re All in This Together’

    During a pregame news conference at Oracle Arena, on the evening of the Golden State Warriors LGBTQ Pride Night, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr expressed his support for gay rights and encouraged others to follow suit. The moment was all the more important when compared to how other professional coaches and managers speak of LGBT issues, often calling them a “distraction.” Similar comments have been made about the #TakeAKnee movement.

    It goes beyond distraction, however, to consider that there are now no current out LGBT basketball players in the NBA. Jason Collins notably came out after the 2012–2013 NBA season concluded. He signed with the Nets in March 2014, but retired from professional basketball just 7 months later. There are up and coming stars, like LGBT rights activist and University of Louisville athlete Dalton Maldonado, but the lack of representation from our community in the NBA is troubling, especially considering the social, financial and other pressures many still feel to stay in the closet.

    While the sports world has been slow to evolve, the Warriors are helping to break down barriers to equality. Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts publicly came out as gay several years ago when he was the President of the Phoenix Suns. He has since become one of the most successful such management leaders of all time.

    Then came the team’s decision to hold an LGBT Night. We were honored to have been part of that successful event on October 25, before which Kerr spoke the following words:

    “I want to acknowledge that tonight is LGBTQ night here at Oracle, which is an important night. I want to say first of all that I’m proud to be part of an organization and with a region and area that embrace 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.

    I’m really encouraged by my kids’ experience here in California growing up, just in terms of acceptance. It seems like the young generation is learning more and more about [how] we all just are who we are and we’re all just individuals and what makes our country great is our diversity.

    The fact that we can respect each other and work together, embrace each other, I think it’s an important night for us, and we welcome everybody from the LGBTQ community.

    Maybe, if you’re coming to the game tonight and your child says what does that mean, explain it to them, explain to them the importance of love the person next to you, respecting them no matter who they are, where they come from. They’re human beings; we’re all human beings; we’re all in this together.”

    The recent Warriors LGBT Pride Night made history, according to Outsports, which reported that the Warriors are the first defending NBA champions to hold such an event. We hope that the LGBT Night becomes an annual tradition. Go Dubs!