Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone broke down in tears at a news conference Tuesday after reading the names of the 10 victims of Monday’s shooting in Boulder, Colorado.
Malone, who spoke before the Nuggets’ game against the Orlando Magic, opened the session by shifting the focus from basketball to the recent mass shooting in the United States, which took place in the Nuggets’ home state.
Clearly, we’ve all had enough, Malone said of the way he and his team handled the recent shooting in Colorado. That’s an understatement. I know you’re so busy with work and basketball and…
We are judged by our victories and defeats. … I’m sorry, Malone added, fighting back tears. But if you were to step back and put yourself in the shoes of one of these families, how would you feel?
Malone read out the names of the 10 men and women shot to death Monday – Danny Stong, Neven Stanisic, Ricky Olds, Tralona Bartkowiak, Suzanne Fountain, Teri Laker, Kevin Mahoney, Lynn Murray, Jody Waters and Eric Talley. Malone gasped when he read the name Talley, a police officer from Boulder and father of seven.
This is not the first time Malone has spoken to reporters about the shooting in Colorado. Before Game 5 against the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round of the NBA Western Conference semifinals in May 2019, he pleaded for something to change after a shooting left a student dead at Highlands Ranch Public Charter School in his suburban Denver neighborhood.
Malone’s two daughters, who were in high school and attending a different school, were excluded from their school that day. At the time, it was the second lockdown in three weeks due to a shooting threat.
It’s a game, a game I love, I have a passion, Malone said, choking up. But I think of Eric Talley and his seven children. … That’s what I think. My heart breaks for them and for everyone else. And let’s hope that as a country, as a state, we find a way to be better. I apologize for my emotions.
After the shooting at Columbine High in 1999, there were several deadly shootings in Colorado that made national headlines.
It seems like we’ve been here before, Malone said at the start of his press conference. I think it’s important that we focus our attention where it belongs, and that’s in Boulder. Yesterday there was another tragedy. We hope to find a way to avoid this in the future.
I think I speak for everyone on our team, on our tour group, that our thoughts and prayers — which is never enough — but our thoughts and prayers certainly go out to the community of Boulder and to all the families of the 10 innocent people who were killed yesterday.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr also opened his press conference Tuesday with a reference to the massacre in Boulder and the shooting in Atlanta last week, which killed eight people, most of them Asian-Americans.
Kerr spoke to reporters as he sat in front of a screen that displayed the names of the victims.
Before we start, you’ll see the names behind me on the screen, Kerr said before Tuesday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers. These are the names of the victims of the mass shootings that took place in Atlanta and Denver over the past two weeks. I think it’s important to put their names first. It’s the people. These are lost people, and the thought of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons now mourning the loss of people behind me is simply devastating, especially given what is so common in our country and the inability of our representatives and our government to do anything about it.
I’m a little confused right now. We cannot sit back and allow our citizens to kill each other with weapons of war. It’s the most disgusting thing in our country. This is ridiculous. It’s disgusting. It’s terrible. There are so many people suffering, we have to do something.
ESPN’s Nick Friedell contributed to this report.