The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will face off against one another in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year. It has never happened before that two teams met in four straight NBA Finals, not even during the vaunted Celtics-Lakers rivalries of the ‘60s or ‘80s.
Many of the participants in this year’s Finals are no strangers to LGBTQ issues.
LeBron James, the biggest name and best player in the series, has spoken publicly about his embrace of openly gay athletes. When John Amaechi came out publicly in 2007, James stumbled a bit, talking about honesty and trust. By the time Jason Collins came out in 2013, James, along with the rest of the country, had found a stronger embrace of inclusion.
“I think it’s very noble on his part,” James said of Collins at the time. “I think it’s a strong thing to do, and I think as NBA players, we all offer him our support.”
While James has been a positive beacon for LGBTQ fans of the Cavaliers, the Warriors have given the community many reasons to cheer for them during Pride Month.
Many of the current cast of Warriors have a history of vocal support for LGBT equality and inclusion:
- Warriors ownership sought out former Phoenix Suns executive Rick Welts after he came out publicly as gay and hired him as the team president and COO.
- Welts has not been shy about being gay and fully supportive of LGBTQ equality and inclusion in and out of the sports world. Beyond being simply a symbol of inclusion, Welts has pushed the NBA and society to become more inclusive.
- Head coach Steve Kerr has spoken publicly multiple times about his support for LGBTQ equality. He has also been effusive about his admiration for Welts.
- Superstar Kevin Durant last year tweeted support for the participation by the NBA and Welts in the New York City Pride March. Several years ago, when Jason Collins came out publicly, Durant said Collins “seems like a great guy ... I support him.”
- Jarron Collins, twin brother of Jason Collins, is an assistant coach on the team and has been strongly supportive of his brother.
The question mark about a potential grey cloud on the Warriors is Steph Curry, the devout Christian from North Carolina who made some garbled comments about North Carolina’s anti-LGBTQ law that made him seem potentially sympathetic with efforts to make LGBTQ people, and trans people in particular, second-class citizens. He also said he didn’t know much about the North Carolina law, but that “no one should be discriminated against,” again not clarifying if he was siding with trans people or Christians or both.
Even when Curry reportedly “clarified” his remarks months later, he remained vague on the law’s merits, talking only about the impact the law had on the NBA and NCAA moving events.
He could clarify it all with very clear statements, but he has chosen not to.
Regardless, there’s no doubt the LGBTQ community will be heavily cheering on the Warriors in their NBA Finals tilt with the Cavs. The Warriors seem to perfectly represent the city of San Francisco that has so strongly embraced the LGBTQ community for decades.
Which team are you cheering for to win the 2018 NBA Finals?
This poll is closed
Golden State Warriors
In a statement of inclusion, both teams vote to share the trophy