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February 17, 2017

Steve Kerr

New Orleans, Louisiana

Q. Steve, when this game moved from Charlotte to New Orleans, do you take that as a good sign that the NBA kind of has activism awareness?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, the NBA, I think, is at the forefront of social activism as far as the major sports are concerned. I'm very proud of the work that Adam Silver is doing and the league's doing. They back up what they believe in. I think that's important.

Q. What are your expectations for this game?
STEVE KERR: No defense.

Q. Why do you think that the NBA is the leader in social impact among other leagues? What's created that?
STEVE KERR: That's a good question. I'm not quite sure. It is an urban game. It's an inclusive game. We have over 100 players from all over the world to mix in with our American players, and we've got a lot of strong leadership both in the league office but also amongst our players, guys who are not afraid to talk and take their stands.

And then I think over the last 20 years or so, the community service the league really takes part in and leads, it's more than just lip service. It's real. I think our players over the last couple decades have really gotten involved in their communities and learned more about their communities. I think maybe it's kind of a combination of all those things have come together at a time when it feels necessary to speak out.

Q. Why is it so important, Steve, for athletes to speak out?
STEVE KERR: I think it's important because of what's happening in the world, what's happening in our government. I think, if you look at the history of athletes' involvement in social issues, it's been most prominent at the most prominent times of need.

In the '60s and '70s, you look at Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Jim Brown, the civil rights movement, Vietnam. There were things happening that were powerful and chaotic, and times called for leadership.

I think the same thing is happening now. I think over the last 20 or 30 years maybe, there hasn't been that same sense of urgency because we generally lived in a pretty peaceful era. But it feels like it's changing, so I think the whole country is changing in terms of its activism and social awareness.

Q. When you hear Steph step up and make the statement he made the other day, what reaction do you have coming from him?
STEVE KERR: Well, for a long time, a lot of athletes have kind of stayed out of the political forum out of fear of losing customers. I think it's refreshing that we have athletes who are putting their social agenda, social beliefs ahead of any marketing issues. I think that's powerful.

Q. Steve, players and coaches have obviously had their say. How do you feel about the league as an institution? Does it have a role to play in social identity? It's a multimillion-dollar industry.
STEVE KERR: I think everybody has a role to play. I think, if you are a big part of society, if you're exposed, if you are in the news, then you play a role. Free speech is one of the principles our country is founded on. I think there's some responsibility that goes with that if you see injustice. That's why I think the league has been great, the NBA's been great in terms of understanding that responsibility and taking action, such as moving the All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans.

Q. Steve, is Stick to Sports a legitimate response to that?
STEVE KERR: Is it a legitimate response?

Q. Yeah. Is it fair?
STEVE KERR: So if you go by that mantra, then everybody should stick to whatever they're doing, right? That means nobody's allowed to have a political opinion. It just so happened that we get these microphones stuck in our faces, so we have a bigger platform. But it's free speech, and if you look at the history of the world, the biggest problems come when people don't speak. So I think it's important to express your views.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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