Another topic at the first practice back was the prime topic in the country right now: Gun control. In the wake of the latest massacre in Florida, some high schoolers who survived the shooting have spoken out loudly about the issue, drumming up more conversation and potential change than at any other point. Kerr, who is passionate about the issue, was asked about the ongoing dialogue. “I think it’s phenomenal,” Kerr said. “What those kids are doing is heroic, it’s heartfelt and I think it’s the beginning of some change. I really believe that. I’m amazed every time I see on TV or online, it’s heartbreaking but inspiring all at once.
“I feel very encouraged. We’ve got a generation that’s grown up with these school shootings and mass shootings and they’re fed up. Historically, it’s a young generation that has to initiate change. You think about the Vietnam war. “All the old white guys who kept sending the troops over to fight this ridiculous war, it was all the young people who protested, had to make change, communicate. It’s the young people in the country now who are going to create the change we need in terms of how we handle gun violence and how we do our best to curb it. It’s amazing to watch.”
Appearing at the NBA Legends Brunch ahead of the All-Star Game, Bill Walton addressed how the league’s biggest stars haven’t shied away from using their platforms to take on social issues. Walton singled out LeBron, Durant and Curry, saying that he stood by all three players.
The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar reiterated his determination to speak out on social issues and the nation’s political climate Saturday during his media availability for the NBA All-Star Game. “I will not just shut up and dribble,” James said. “I get to sit up here and talk about what’s really important.” James spoke publicly after Fox News host Laura Ingraham criticized the three-time NBA champion for his recent comments about social issues. James previously responded with an Instagram post containing similar sentiments. “We will definitely not shut up and dribble,” James said. “I will definitely not do that. I mean too much to society. I mean too much to the youth. I mean too much to so many kids that feel like they don’t have a way out and they need someone to help lead them out of the situation they’re in.”
Kyrie Irving on the notion that athletes should stick to sports – “I think sometimes, because of the way we’re put on this platform, I think people have opinions on the way we should be and how we should act and things that we should be involved with. I think that the thing that gets graced over is that we’re all human beings at the end of the day. It’s pretty tough finding that balance. For me, I think it’s just about respect of all people. And that’s something I always try to hammer home. It’s something I was taught as a kid. It’s crazy, because you get slack for saying something about certain things and feeling strongly, and then if you don’t say enough you get the bad end of that as well.”
Curry called the Fox News host’s comments and dismissive tone “aggressive and just out of line … but not surprising, because I’ve heard that plenty of times before.” “That’s the tone that people (utilize to) try to put athletes and black athletes in a box, to say, `Basketball is the only thing that you can provide in this world,”‘ Curry said. “It’s really, obviously, very upsetting. I think the way that we handle the response is to highlight all the good that we’re doing … Every single NBA athlete here that plays this game, that’s not what we’re about. That’s not all that we contribute to this world.