Warriors

Warriors' Steve Kerr doesn't give opinion on Daryl Morey-China controversy

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AP

Warriors' Steve Kerr doesn't give opinion on Daryl Morey-China controversy

SAN FRANCISCO -- During his five-year tenure as Warriors coach, Steve Kerr has spoken out on a number of social topics about which he's passionate.

However, following the controversy surrounding Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's comments on China, Kerr chose not to give an opinion on the matter.  

"I don't," Kerr said following Warriors practice Monday evening. "It's a really bizarre international story, and a lot of us don't know what to make of it. So it's something I'm reading about just like everybody is, but I'm not going to comment further than that.

"What I've found is that it's easy to speak on issues that I'm passionate about and that I feel like I'm well-versed on, and I've found that it makes the most sense to stick to topics that fall in that category," he added. "So I try to keep my comments to those things, and so it's not difficult. It's more I'm just trying to learn." 

Kerr's comments come three days after Morey tweeted and deleted “stand with Hong Kong” in support of protests happening in the city. The tweet caused a firestorm in China, as country officials denounced the tweet and Chinese shoe companies Li Ning and Anta paused sponsorships with the Rockets. The Chinese Basketball Association -- whose commissioner is former Rockets star Yao Ming -- cut off ties with the team until a "reasonable explanation" for the comments was given.  

Morey's comments put the NBA and some of its players in an awkward position. Not only is the country hosting exhibition games between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets this week, but the league has a lucrative business relationship with the Communist country. Tencent -- a Chinese news company that signed a $1.5 billion streaming deal with the league in July -- announced it would suspend all Rockets-related programming. 

In the fallout, NBA executives also denounced Morey's comments. Nets majority owner Joseph Tsai -- who owns Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba -- said Morey's comments "will take a long time to repair.” NBA spokesperson Mike Bass called Morey's comments "regrettable." 

While those officials responded to Morey’s comments, Kerr made it clear the league hasn’t provided direction on how to approach the controversy.

"Nobody has said anything to us from the league or from the organization about whether we can comment or not comment," Kerr said.

Following his tweets Friday night, Morey apologized in a follow-up post on Twitter.  

“I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China,” Morey wrote, adding that his view did not represent that of the team or the NBA. “I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.’’

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The controversy comes as Hong Kong is embroiled in protests relating to human rights violations. Hong Kong -- which was a democracy under British rule until 1997 -- has operated under a "one country, two systems" rule, giving the pro-democracy city more discretion under China's communist rule. However, since a proposed bill to allow extradition into China's mainland in June, protests have erupted pushing for full democracy in Hong Kong. 

During his time with the Warriors, Kerr has voiced his opinion on social issues relating to human rights. In 2018, he spoke at a rally condemning gun violence at Newark Memorial High School. Kerr also has spoken out against US President Donald Trump, calling him a "racist."

Steph Curry, Damian Lillard deserve better than ridiculous debates

Steph Curry, Damian Lillard deserve better than ridiculous debates

The evidence gets clearer by the day. With the coronavirus pandemic and all its inglorious but sensible restrictions, too many people with too much idle time are flocking to social media and diving keyboard-first into irrational discussions.

Such as the one that raged Tuesday night and into Wednesday and was unrelated to Kamala Harris as a vice presidential candidate:

Is Damian Lillard better than Stephen Curry?

The answer is no, but that doesn’t stop “debate.” Nor should it.

One of the charming aspects of sport is that it is, like a crowded barber shop, a virtual playground for silly arguments. Sports are where conflict prompts research before meandering to laughter and expressions of mutual respect. It’s OK to agree to disagree. On those rare occasions when it escalates to violence, the blame lies not with the disagreement but with whomever loses perspective.

With Lillard lighting up all comers in the NBA bubble, pulling the Portland Trail Blazers into favorable playoff position -- and doing so in spectacular fashion -- it’s natural that hyperbole would take flight into a loony dimension. Recency bias is real, and it’s the fastest route to folly.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Dame is the best point guard in the bubble, so he must be the best point guard in the NBA. The first claim defies debate, the second invites it.

Which leads the conversation directly to Curry, the point guard against whom all others should be measured. He has the least to prove and is the most decorated player in the league not named LeBron James.

Curry is the only active point guard with three championship rings. He’s the only point guard with two MVP trophies, and the only player in history to nab the award by a unanimous vote. Moreover, he is the only point guard that can make a legitimate claim to altering the offensive philosophies and defensive strategies of basketball at all levels, regardless of gender.

All the things Dame wants most, Steph already has.

But Dame is coming. And hard.

His performance in Florida has been a portrait of stone-cold determination and preposterous production. Lillard is averaging 37.0 points (48.5 percent shooting, including 41.4 percent from deep, 88.8 percent from the line) and 9.3 assists per game. In their last two games, with increasingly high stakes, Dame put up 51 and 61 points. Of the 69 points that Portland totaled in the fourth quarters of those two games, both excruciatingly close, he scored 40.

In scoring 61 points to put away the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, Lillard joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players with three games of 60 or more points in a season.

Hats off. Caps, too. Lillard lives up to his Dame D.O.L.L.A. (Different on Levels the Lord Allowed) nickname. The praise coming his way, is richly deserved. He shouldn’t plead with anyone to “Put some respect on my f---ing name,” as he did Tuesday night.

Curry might not be caught uttering that phrase, but it surely lives in his heart. That’s where these two players are most alike. Each was a three-star recruit out of high school and landed at a mid-major -- Steph to Davidson, Dame to Weber State. Each entered the NBA to the yawns of skeptics. They feel disrespected because they’ve been disrespected.

But comparing Dame to Steph is cheap debate bait.

[RELATED: Trainer says Steph is 'as bouncy and energetic' as ever]

Curry, he has the chips and the dip. His teams crush Lillard’s at every postseason turn. Steph’s presence in the Bay Area is responsible for the Warriors hysteria that has surfaced over the last seven years. Chase Center does not get built without the team’s runaway success, and that success does not happen without Curry.

At the root of this silly debate is, sadly, perception.

Despite his record and his innate toughness, Curry always will be perceived by some as a soft kid from the suburbs, son of a millionaire NBA player. His baby face, relatively fair skin and his exhibitions of joy are magnets for jealousy and bound to lure detractors.

Lillard gets props for surviving his upbringing. He’s a Brookfield Village kid, raised in a five-block stretch between railroad tracks and I-880 in East Oakland. He's a credible rapper. His court demeanor is of such intense focus it’s almost trance-like. He is serious business.

Curry and Lillard deserve better than to be fantasy-pitted against each other, with slander flying both ways, at a time when one is radioactive and the other inactive.

Debate can be fun, but rarely is it vital. How about we cool the keyboards a bit and allow each to be magnificent in his own right? Both are, after all, bound for the same Hall of Fame.

Watch Warriors' Klay Thompson use dog Rocco for curls during workout

Watch Warriors' Klay Thompson use dog Rocco for curls during workout

Normally, Rocco just watches Klay Thompson when he's working out. But on Tuesday, the pooch got in on the action.

In a video posted by the Warriors shooting guard, he did 12 curls where he used Rocco as the weight.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

In early July, Thompson posted a video of Rocco providing moral support while he rehabbed his surgically repaired left ACL.

During the early days of Thompson's rehab, Rocco was at his side as he went through rigorous exercises with a trainer.

Thompson missed the entire 2019-20 NBA season after tearing his left ACL against the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He reportedly was medically cleared to start training without restrictions in June.

[RELATED: Trainer says Steph "bouncy and energetic"]

Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported Monday that Thompson and Steph Curry worked out together at some point over the last few months.

I think we can safely assume Rocco also was there for the Splash Brothers' workout.