Coach Steve Kerr has a chance to win his eighth NBA championship on Friday night in a possibly decisive Game Four against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He has already won twice as head coach of the Golden State Warriors, twice as a player for the San Antonio Spurs and three times as a player for the Chicago Bulls alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
Now he has another team, reports the San Francisco Chronicle: East Bay high school students.
Kerr has donated at least $250,000, his proceeds from speaking engagements, to the East Bay College Fund to help an estimated 20 students from low-income families pay for college this school year. "It's everything I believe in," Kerr tells the Chronicle. "An education opportunity for people who might not otherwise have it."
"It's the responsibility for someone being in my position to help in some way. All of us on the team have talked about how we can help. You want to do something close to your heart. This seemed like a perfect fit," he adds.
Kerr isn't the only member of the Warriors organization helping to make education a reality for disadvantaged students. Former finals MVP Kevin Durant is paying for the first year of college for four of his mentees from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula in Redwood City, California.
"I grew up in a similar situation," Durant tells ESPN. "They are four kids that have been through so much already in their short lives and to be able to get up the next day and keep pushing, keep trucking, I was very proud just to get to meet them."
Kerr's donations to the East Bay College Fund went to a scholarship he created in memory of his late father Malcolm, a former professor at UCLA and president of the American University in Beirut. In 1984, when Kerr was a freshman at the University of Arizona, his father was assassinated outside his office, a tragedy that has played a significant role in shaping Kerr's worldview, according to the New York Times.
The coach doesn't shy away from speaking his mind on controversial issues such as gun control and police violence. He recently defended the right of NFL players to kneel during the national anthem to protest of police brutality and racial inequality. And after the Parkland High School shooting in South Florida, he criticized the response from legislators.
By donating to causes he believes in, Kerr is putting his money where his mouth is. "A lot of people say they want to help but they're just talking," Jahlon Andrades, one of the beneficiaries of the fund, tells the Chronicle. "He's actually doing."
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