Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr thanked President Obama for his gun-control efforts at an event honoring his championship team held at the White House on Thursday.
“I thanked him for his work on gun control, which is an important political issue for me and my family,” Kerr told the San Jose Mercury News. “We believe very strongly there needs to be greater measures, so how often am I going to get the chance to thank the president for something that he’s working on? He seemed very appreciative.”
The Beirut-born coach’s father, American University of Beirut President Malcolm Kerr, lost his life to Hezbollah terrorists who gunned him down while he walked to his office in 1984. Lebanon, like the city where Obama hosted the Warriors, boasts strict gun laws. Both places have also periodically recorded high rates of murder.
On a lighter note, Chicago Bulls fan President Obama provoked widespread laughter telling a joke involving Kerr. “Now, it is rare to be in the presence of guys from the greatest team in NBA history,” he explained to the team that many rank as one of the best all time. “So we’re pretty lucky today, because we’ve got one of those players in the house: Steve Kerr from the 1995-‘96 Chicago Bulls.”
The president lauded Golden State’s selflessness, which he linked to their play and the support of gun measures by several players:
They’ve led the way for the NBA’s commitment to our My Brother’s Keeper initiative, promoting mentoring in the Bay Area and nationwide. I know they met with some students in the White House mentor program earlier today. This team is also supporting the city’s Oakland Promise effort to help more kids make it through college. You’ve had players take a stand against gun violence. They’ve worked with Michelle’s Let’s Move initiative. They’ve dressed up as Santa to deliver Christmas presents to those in need. And the first time I met Steph was because he had partnered with the U.N. Foundation to donate three anti-malarial mosquito nets for every three-pointer he makes. So last night, that’s 33 nets. So keep shooting, Steph — not that he needs any encouragement, obviously.
“It’s an important issue for us,” Kerr reflected of gun control. “I know it’s a very hot topic. There’s a great divide, but I’m on his side.”