Michael Malone, Denver Nuggets react to Boulder, CO tragedy
It was a moment of raw emotion.
Michael Malone stepped into his scheduled pregame conference with the media and opened by discussing the horrific shooting in Boulder, CO Monday afternoon that saw 10 people lose their lives.
“It seems like we’ve been here before,” he said.
The sad truth is he is right. It was just under three years ago that Malone was in a similar position before Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Portland Trail Blazers. On May 8, 2019, the Nuggets head coach pleaded for action after STEM School Highlands Ranch had eight victims and one murder from a senseless shooting.
“It’s a shame – my girls have been in a lockout twice in the last month…I don’t have the answers, but something must change,” Malone said at the time.
In just the past week, there have been seven mass shootings in America. And the fact that places that have been safe havens for decades are under threat is a somber reality for Malone and his players.
Malone broke into tears reading the names of the 10 victims who lost their lives.
“We get judged on wins and losses, but if you take a step back and you put yourself in one of those families’ [shoes], what do you feel,” he said choking up. “This is the game I love and have a passion for, but I think about [Boulder policeman] Eric Talley and his seven kids…That is 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."
After the game, several Nuggets players shared Malone’s sentiments.
“Ten lives just gone like that,” Jamal Murray said. “Just snap your fingers and [people are killed] going to shop to get some food, get some eggs, some milk.”
“It’s such a tragedy and such a disaster. It’s unacceptable and we have to have something in place where we can’t allow that to happen so easily.”
Nikola Jokić was saddened to hear about the news. It hit close to home when he learned one of the victims, Neven Stanisic, also hailed from Serbia.
“It’s a huge tragedy,” Jokić said. “Those things happen in the world and it just hits you. You send your thoughts to the families. One [of the victims] was Serbian and it is something that nobody wants to even be close to.”
“I’m sending my thoughts and prayers to the families.”
P.J. Dozier revealed the Nuggets players, coaching staff and traveling party all discussed the shooting in Boulder when they arrived in Orlando Monday.
“We just talked about how tragic it is,” Dozier said. “It is very unsettling, disturbing, and disgusting. We continue to see things like that happen in our country. As an NBA player, as a son, as a brother, it hurts my heart to know there are families out there that have to grieve through it and live through it, ultimately.”
Dozier hopes that increased awareness will bring about change.
“We’re always going to do our part to fix what we can,” he said.