Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone opened his pregame press conference on Tuesday with a tribute the 10 people who were killed in a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado on Monday.
“It’s really important that we turn our attention to where it should be, and that’s back in Boulder,” Malone said. “Yesterday was another tragedy. Hopefully, it’s something we can find a way to prevent from happening in the future. I think I speak for everyone on our team, our travel party that our thoughts and prayers are never, but our thoughts and prayers are definitely with the Boulder community and all the families of the 10 innocent people who were murdered yesterday.”
It took Malone 25 seconds to say their names – Denny Stong, Neven Stanisic, Rikki Olds, Tralona Bartkowiak, Suzanne Fountain, Teri Leiker, Eric Talley, Kevin Mahoney, Lynn Murray, Jody Waters – and he concluded with Talley, the Boulder police officer who was killed when he responded to the scene.
Malone’s voice broke as he gave biographical details of Talley – “father of seven kids … so we keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”
Asked how the team processed what happened in Boulder, Malone said he couldn’t speak for the players but said, “I think we’re all tired of it. That’s an understatement. I know for me, you get so caught up in the job and basketball and we get judged on wins and losses, but if you take a step back and you put yourself in one those families, what do you feel? This is a game. It’s a game I love, I have a passion for, but I think about Eric Talley and his seven kids. That’s what I think about. I’m just heartbroken for them and everybody else and hopefully we as a country, we as a state can find a way to be better.
“I apologize for my emotions.”
He wiped away tears while he gave his answer.
Malone, while in the Orlando bubble, was equally as heartfelt about social and racial injustices, calling for change.