Warriors

Watch Warriors' video thanking two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant

Watch Warriors' video thanking two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant

On July 4, 2016, Kevin Durant announced that he would sign with the Warriors in free agency.

On June 30, 2019, KD announced that he was leaving the Dubs for the Brooklyn Nets.

During the three years in between, the 10-time All-Star helped Golden State win two NBA championships and was twice named NBA Finals MVP.

Last week, Golden State owner Joe Lacob announced: "As long as I am Co-Chairman of this team, no player will ever wear #35 for the Warriors again."

And Wednesday afternoon, the team posted the following message and video on Twitter:

[RELATEDNew details emerge regarding Durant's contract with Nets]

In case you missed it -- KD will wear No. 7 with the Nets.

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Steph Curry calls on people to speak up, get uncomfortable to enact change

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Steph Curry calls on people to speak up, get uncomfortable to enact change

Steph Curry was one of the first athletes to speak out after George Floyd's death in police custody.

The Warriors star posted on Instagram trying to articulate how fed up he is with police violence against African-Americans and the institutional racism that's been prevalent in this country since its inception. The Warriors star spoke further about Floyd's death, the ensuing protests and where he thinks we as a society can go from here in an appearance on "The Life Podcast" with Anthony Morrow and Justin Jack.

"It's just crazy, how many examples do you need," Curry said of police violence and systemic racism toward African-Americans. "This one, I actually found out from [Stephen Jackson]. He's been posting like crazy trying to make sure his partner is memorialized the right way and they remember his name and he's taken that on his back. It's crazy to think in my Instagram feed, I don't post that much, but like, I couldn't even get through eight different posts from Ahmaud Arbery to George Floyd. And that, in and of itself, it's sad to your point. One, we know there's police brutality, we know there's systemic racism, all these issues that we're all trying to address. As the black community, the thing that we are doing is trying to use our voice, our platforms, everybody is activating in the streets and the communities trying to do the work and everyone is playing their part.

"But until people outside of our community speak up, use their platform, get uncomfortable and actually feel some type of emotional change to the issues then we are just going to be in the same situation. That, to me, is the thing I've been watching on social media, if we can actually get some solutions. To raise your voice and get mad and get angry and you hate doing it over and over again, but we got to figure out some solutions to this problem and they got to be accountable to it."

Floyd, an unarmed African-American who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis when officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for eight minutes. The video showed Floyd telling Chauvin and three other officers who were watching that he couldn't breathe and asking for Chauvin to stop. Floyd's death sparked protests across the country as citizens march against police brutality and systemic racism.

Floyd's death comes three months after the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed by armed white residents of a South Georgia neighborhood while he was out on a run. After months of outcry and the release of the video of the killing, the two men finally were arrested on May 22 and charged with murder. It took three months and a massive outcry from celebrities, like Curry, for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to step in and arrest Gregory and Travis McMichael.

Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. To Curry, the video of Chauvin killing Floyd was horrifying and Chauvin's reaction during the video and in the aftermath shows how deep the systemic racism is ingrained in the DNA of people and institutions.

"It's crazy that he's been just sitting at home chilling," Curry said of Chauvin. "I'll never get over the grace period that people get. Is it just me -- like you just said his rap sheet and how he's got complaints for all this -- like what I'm trying to say is, it's crazy how ingrained his perspective on life is and the abuse of power and all that stuff is happening and you see the camera literally 10 feet away from you and you don't have a facial reaction, you don't have any empathy, you don't have nothing. You just got your hands in your pockets. For me, I'd be acting different just knowing that I was on camera. He was so ingrained in his ways and that just speaks to how deep this conversation is that we've been fighting 400 years. That is just counter-intuitive to me knowing that I'm on camera and I know I'm wrong. But maybe you just don't know you're wrong."

There were protests all over the country this past weekend, from Minneapolis to Dallas and Oakland to New York City. While some protests turned violent, Curry acknowledged a number of police officers who didn't antagonize the protesters and instead chose to listen, speak up and walk with those seeking justice and change.

"Shoutout to all the police officers that I've seen speak up," Curry said. "Every single one of y'all, keep doing it. If you want change, it's the people right next to you that's going to do it. Shoutout to them because that takes some boldness to step out. I know they got that code and all this type of stuff. Appreciate them."

[RELATED: Poole: Calling out star white coaches, QBs fair game]

Curry is one of countless star athletes who used their platform to speak out in the wake of Floyd's death. That list includes Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Joe Burrow, Jaylen Brown, Carson Wentz, Trevor Lawrence and Odell Beckham Jr. Kerr, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman and former NFL defensive end Chris Long all have asked more prominent white quarterbacks and coaches to use their platform.

Chauvin, a 19-year police officer, had 18 previous complaints in his file. 

The other three officers who were present when Chauvin killed Floyd have not. One of the officers, Tou Thao, had six previous complaints in his file. The other two did not have any previous complaints.

Steve Kerr, Chris Long challenge white star athletes to disavow racism

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Steve Kerr, Chris Long challenge white star athletes to disavow racism

The war on injustice and oppression has been waged by millions over centuries, and the only aspect to undergo substantive change is the death toll.

Every small advance, however, has come with a racially collaborative effort, which is proof that folks of different hues can share the same goal. As long as this is true, there is reason for hope.

Though it’s much too soon to conclude the killing of George Floyd at the knee of a Minneapolis police officer is a tipping point in America, it’s absolutely evident that more people across the human paint spectrum are willing to confront our most enduring sin.

Which is why it is encouraging to hear white voices growing in numbers and getting louder. Two of the most visible, Warriors coach Steve Kerr and former NFL star Chris Long, are calling for others to join them.

“We have to decide, as white people, that enough is enough,” Kerr said on Long’s “Green Light” podcast.

“We need athletes to talk about this stuff,” Long said. “We need white voices. We need people to stand together right now and be on the same team . . . and just call it for what it is. In sports, for whatever reason, there aren’t a ton of white athletes who feel comfortable doing that.”

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

Long pointed out that one of his former teammates, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, was among the few to issue a statement last week, after seeing video of Floyd’s death, decrying the “institutional racism” that people of color live with on a daily basis.

That, however, is only a start.

“Who’s going to be the first white franchise quarterback, a big name in our sport, that can move mountains,” Long said, “to come out and talk about this stuff?”

That, folks, is a call to the likes of Tom Brady and Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger, all marquee names with Super Bowl bona fides.

[RELATED: Curry, Kerr outraged by Floyd's death]

Considering the crisis at hand, they’re all fair game. As are the big-name college football coaches, who are revered in some parts of the country and have parlayed African-American talent into generational wealth.

“For somebody who wants to be involved, admitting there is racism or that you might have a leg up, doesn’t make you a bad person,” Long said. “It doesn’t mean you haven’t worked hard. It just means that it’s harder for somebody else. Let’s even the playing field.”

Kerr and Long know this is a big ask. They also realize leadership is one of the requirements of making America a better place. Doesn't leadership begin with those of power and influence?

Moreover, how can one be described as a leader without getting involved?

“I’ve got friends who are in the thick of it, in the inner city, who are really fighting hard for equality and for the lives of people are impoverished,” Kerr said. “I’ve learned from them and I tend to call them and ask: ‘What can I do?’”

The first step, Kerr concedes, is addressing the issue.

“When I think of it in terms of the big picture in our country, in our nation’s history, the real problem is that we’ve never really reconciled our sins from the past,” Kerr said. “We haven’t really.”

“The impact (of slavery), the generational impact, on families, the only way for us to reconcile it is to address them.”

Aware that some contend slavery, because it was abolished 157 years ago, is something to be ignored or forgotten, Long astutely pointed out the fallacy of that, saying it has been replaced by various iterations, some of which exist in 2020.

Most notably, that is, in the all-too-antagonistic relationship between law enforcement and African-Americans.

Kerr and Long are not alone. Others, Gregg Popovich and Megan Rapinoe to name two, have long been willing to address inequality. Other sports figures, such as Zach and Julie Ertz, along with J.J. Watt, have spoken up in recent days.

Still, many more sports “heroes” should search themselves for the courage to acknowledge injustice, speak on it and take positive action.

“Hopefully, we can, inch by inch, claw our way to a place that we can be comprehensively proud of the country we live in,” Long said. “Because I am proud to be an American.

“But there’s a big asterisk next to it.”

[RELATED: Kerr did 'soul-searching' after Floyd's death]

That asterisk has become massive in recent years and downright explosive in recent days. There literally is war in the streets, and war always means suffering.

Until there is appreciably greater cooperation from the privileged top of American society, most of which remains silent, the body count will rise, with martyrs recognized or not, continuing to stack up.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]