DALLAS — In the aftermath of one of the worst elementary school shootings in history, Steve Kerr and Jason Kidd didn't want to talk about basketball.
They weren't alone. The sports world reacted swiftly Tuesday to the news of an 18-year-old gunman opening fire at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and killing at least 18 children. LeBron James made no effort to hide his anger. Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics, a young father, called the news “devastating."
It was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, almost a decade ago.
'I'm not going to talk about basketball.'
"I'm not going to talk about basketball, nothing's happened with our team in the last six hours... any basketball questions don't matter," Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in a passionate speech ahead of Game 4 against the Dallas Mavericks.
"When are we going to do something?" Kerr asked as he slammed his hands on the table, seeming to hold back tears. "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 moments of silence. Enough."
Listing the other mass shootings that have devastated the U.S. in the last 10 days -- the Buffalo supermarket shooting and the California church shooting -- Kerr urged Congress to mandate background checks for gun purchases.
“I’m fed up," Kerr said. "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?”
Kerr was one of many voices in the sports world reacting to the shooting or calling for change.
“My thoughts and prayers goes out to the families of love ones loss & injured at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX!" LeBron James wrote in a tweet. "Like when is enough enough man!!! These are kids and we keep putting them in harms way at school. Like seriously “AT SCHOOL” where it’s suppose to be the safest!”
Sports leaders in Texas, across country react
“The news of what’s happening, not just here in Texas but throughout our country, is sad." — Mavericks coach Jason Kidd.
“Uvalde, There are no right words. Our hearts are with you and all of our neighbors impacted by today's horrific shooting." — statement from the San Antonio Spurs, via Twitter.
“To the victims, their families and the entire Uvalde community, you are held close to our hearts today and in the weeks to come." — statement from the Houston Texans, via Twitter.
“When is enough going to be enough? Senseless killings , kids dying at the hands of a gun. Seeing so many kids get their hands on guns is painful! Schools aren’t safe. Grocery stores aren’t safe. Kids killing kids. Protecting gun laws can’t be more important than saving lives." — Sports agent Rich Paul, who represents, among others, LeBron James.
“Breaks my heart hearing this news, no parent should ever have to lose there child. Praying for the families of those kids and the teacher ... this is devastating." — Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum.
“Devastated doesn’t even begin to describe it. Horrifying horrifying news out of Texas." — Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt.
“Tonight we play for Uvalde, Texas." — the WNBA's Dallas Wings, in a statement.
“Has to stop man…… prayers to all the families in Texas." — Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“When will we care about the protection of our children above everything else? Children shouldn’t be gunned down in school. It’s absolutely unacceptable that this is continuing to happen. These children represent our country’s future, our hopes, our dreams." — New York Yankees pitcher Zack Britton.
“We mourn with their families and friends and the entire community after this unspeakable tragedy." — Dallas Mavericks public address announcer Sean Heath, before the Warriors-Mavericks game.
“Change must come." — Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons.