Throughout his career in the NBA, Steve Kerr has achieved great success winning five NBA titles as a player and one as a head coach.
But tucked behind all of the glory Kerr has achieved on the hardwood is his grandparents’ incredible story providing relief in the Middle East for Armenians during the first genocide of the 20th century.
Kerr’s grandparents, Stanley and Elsa, settled in the Middle East in the 1920s and established the Near East Relief, which helped provide aid to Armenian women and children trying to escape marauding officials in the Turkish Ottoman Empire, Uproxx revealed Wednesday. They also established an orphanage for Armenian children.
An estimated 1.5 million Armenians were murdered during the Genocide, which the Warriors’ coach feels doesn’t get enough attention.
“Everybody learns about the Jewish Holocaust, but very few know about the Armenian Genocide,” Kerr told Uproxx. “It’s not taught in schools, and obviously there are still the political issues of whether Turkey is willing to use the word ‘genocide.'”
The Kerr family’s altruism in the Middle East continued through the next generation as Steve’s mother, Ann, taught at a Catholic Armenian girls’ school while his father, Malcolm, served as the head of the American University of Beirut, where he was assassinated by an Islamic jihadist in 1984.
Kerr, who was born in Beirut, feels proud of his family’s legacy in the Middle East and expressed that he has a strong connection toward Armenians because of it.
“We’ve had so many Armenians at our house over the years,” Kerr said. “I felt like an honorary member of the Armenian community through my family.”
Thumbnail photo via Mark D. Smith/USA TODAY Sports Images