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Warriors, Celtics players wear “End Gun Violence” T-shirts for warmups

SAN FRANCISCO — Both Warriors and Celtics players took to the court for warmups before Game 2 wearing orange T-Shirts with the words “End Gun Violence.”

Players and coaches from both teams said it is part of a nationwide effort — using the color orange — to spark more conversation and awareness about the gun violence crisis in America and how to reduce gun violence in our neighborhoods. It comes in the wake of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, the grocery store shooting in Buffalo, New York, a shooting this weekend in Philadelphia, and other gun violence deaths around the nation in recent weeks.

“I think we feel very strongly as a league that it’s time for people to take notice and to take part in what should be a nationwide effort to limit the gun violence that’s out there,” said Warriors coach Steve Kerr, an outspoken critic of the lack gun laws in America. “And there are ways to limit it. There are proven laws that are waiting to be passed, whether it’s background checks or what have you. There are things we can do that would not violate people’s Second Amendment rights, but would save lives.

“The idea behind wearing the shirts for both teams is to make people aware that they can contribute to different gun safety, gun violence prevention groups.”

The statement by two NBA teams on the league’s biggest stage comes one day after a speech by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich in Texas went viral.

Ime Udoka said doing things like wearing this shirt is a reminder of what is important.

“We play a game that if you win, you’re elated and you feel great about it; you lose, you’re devastated for the moment but it’s not life and death, you still go on,” Udoka said. “The awareness is about things that continue to happen in our communities. They are devastated and their families are devastated and we kind of go on with our normal life and business. Just continue to keep those thoughts in mind and those people are struggling.”

Kerr was asked about NBA players and coaches doing more than just wearing shirts.

“The biggest thing I think is to vote,” Kerr said. “What I understand is that a lot of races, congressional races that are out there, despite the fact that the majority of people in this country want gun safety measures put in place, a lot of those races are decided by people who aren’t so much for any kind of gun safety measures. And so people got to vote, and if you feel strongly about saving lives and possibly even someone in your own family, get out and vote. That’s the only way to convince the people we need to convince to start implementing gun safety regulation prevention laws, things that we can do to help.”