DALLAS (CBS Chicago/CBS San Francisco) -- Emotions, frustration, and anger boiled over for Golden State Warriors Head Coach and onetime Bulls star Steve Kerr Tuesday night in the wake of the massacre that killed 18 children in Texas.
Kerr remarked on the shooting and the greater issue of gun violence before Tuesday night's Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals.
Kerr knows firsthand how it feels to lose a loved one to gun violence. His father, Malcom Kerr, was assassinated by terrorists in Beirut in 1984 when he was serving as president of the American University of Beirut.
In honor of his father, Kerr has been an outspoken advocate for HR 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, a law that he noted has been passed by the House of Representatives twice but has faced Republican opposition in the U.S. Senate.
In the wake of the latest shooting, he used his entire pregame news conference to make another plea for the law.
Here is a transcript of his emotional speech, via CBS San Francisco:
"I'm not going to talk about basketball. Nothing's happened with our team in the last six hours. We're going to start the same way tonight. Any basketball questions don't matter.
"Since we left shootaround, 14 children were killed 400 miles from here, and a teacher. In the last 10 days, we've had elderly black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo, we've had Asian churchgoers killed in Southern California, now we have children murdered at school.
"When are we going to do something? I'm tired. I'm so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I'm so tired. Excuse me. I'm sorry. I'm tired of the moments of silence. Enough.
"There's 50 Senators right now who refuse to vote on HR8, which is a background check rule that the House passed a couple years ago. It's been sitting there for two years. There's a reason they won't vote on it: to hold onto power.
"I ask you, Mitch McConnell, all of you Senators who refuse to do anything about the violence, school shootings, supermarket shootings, I ask you: Are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children and our elderly and our churchgoers? Because that's what it looks like. That's what we do every week.
"So I'm fed up. I've had enough. We're going to play the game tonight. But I want every person here, every person listening to this, to think about your own child or grandchild, mother or father, sister, brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today?
"We can't get numb to this. We can't sit here and just read about it and go, well, let's have a moment of silence. Go Dubs. C'mon, Mavs, let's go. That's what we're going to do. We're going to go play a basketball game.
"Fifty Senators in Washington are going to hold us hostage. Do you realize that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want background checks, universal background checks? Ninety percent of us. We are being held hostage by 50 Senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote, despite what we the American people want.
"They won't vote on it because they want to hold onto their own power. It's pathetic. I've had enough.
"The Golden State Warriors have won three NBA titles under Kerr. As a player, Kerr won three NBA titles with the Bulls alongside Michael Jordan, and later won two more with the San Antonio Spurs."
for more features.