While Wednesday’s victory might be remembered for a night in which Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry knocked down clutch 3-pointers to beat the Raptors, the game also marked a recognition and celebration of diversity, equality and inclusion on Warriors Ground. Officially, it was LGBTQ Pride Night, and nobody took more pride in that than Head Coach Steve Kerr.
“I want to say that first of all that I’m proud to be part of an organization and live in a region and area that really embraces diversity,” Kerr said during his pregame press conference. “There has never been a more important time in our country to respect the person next to you regardless of race, creed, color or sexual preference and sexual identity. I’m really encouraged by my kids experience here in California growing up just in terms of acceptance. It seems that the young generation is learning more and more that we are all just who we are and we are all individuals. What makes our country great is our diversity. The fact that we can respect each other and work together and embrace each other. It’s an important night for us so we want to welcome everybody from the LGBTQ community. Maybe, if you are coming to the game tonight, and your child says ‘What does that mean?’ explain it to them and explain the importance of loving the person next to you and respecting them no matter who they are and where they come from. They are human beings, we are all human beings and we are all in this together.”
With a number of groups and organizations that champion equality and inclusion for the LGBTQ community in attendance, including a halftime performance by Cheer SF, one such individual was recognized on court during a break in the action.
Gary Virginia, a San Francisco resident since 1987, received the Walmart Community Playmaker Award from Warriors President and COO Rick Welts, an advocate for equal rights for all in his own right. Virginia has held numerous community titles and built a legacy of fundraising and activism for local, national and international causes. Through a variety of roles, Virginia has raised more than a million dollars for causes such as HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, LGBTQ civil rights, homelessness, hunger and emergency relief.
Virginia is this season’s first honoree in the Walmart Community Playmaker program, which serves to highlight and recognize members of the community who are making a positive impact.