When the Toronto Raptors headed to Oakland to take on the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, they did so on LGBTQ Pride Night at Oracle Arena. As Outsports reported earlier this month, it’s believed to be the first time a defending NBA champion has hosted such an event.
During his pregame press conference before taking on the Raptors, Golden State head coach Steve Kerr offered his thoughts on why he felt it was important for the Warriors to extend a welcoming hand to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities in the Bay Area.
I also 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 to live in a region, an area, that really embraces diversity. I think there has 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 it. We all just are who we are. We’re all individuals, and what makes our country great is our diversity. The fact that we can respect each other, work together and embrace each other — I think it’s an important night for us, and we welcome everybody in the LGBTQ community.
Kerr, a five-time NBA champion during his playing career and now a two-time champion as the head coach of the Warriors, has over the last year become one of the sport’s most prominent progressive voices on social and political matters. He ended his pregame comments by making a suggestion — a challenge, of sorts — to those who might be heading into the area:
Maybe if you’re coming to the game tonight and your child says, ‘What does that mean?’ … you know, explain it to them. Explain to them the importance of loving the person next to you, respecting them no matter who they are and where they come from. They’re human beings. We’re all human beings. We’re all in this together.
And with that, we’ll talk basketball.
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