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‘I could stay in there for hours’: Here’s what the Warriors loved about the African American history museum

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant celebrates winning the 2017 NBA Finals MVP award.  (Kelley L Cox/USA Today Sports)
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Instead of visiting the White House to celebrate their NBA title during a scheduled off day this week, the Golden State Warriors took a contingent of school children from Seat Pleasant — Kevin Durant’s home town — to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Former MVP Stephen Curry posted video on social media that showed the team hanging out with the kids as they arrived at the museum.

Between the elementary school-aged kids and the moving exhibits, there was a lot for the Warriors to remember from this trip to Washington, even before their 109-101 win over the Wizards on Wednesday night. We asked Warriors players what struck them most about the experience and found photos of the exhibits mentioned by members of the team.

Klay Thompson

“I just love the layout of the museum. You start at the bottom. It starts all the way at the year 1400 and goes all the way to the present day. I could stay in there for hours. You could learn so much. It’s incredible how much knowledge is in there, so it’s really hard to pick one standout exhibit. There was a lot of great things I learned. I thought a lot about African American history, and I learned a tremendous amount just in the short time I was there.”

Coach Steve Kerr

“I think the way the museum is designed is beautiful. It goes from sort of despair and hopelessness at the beginning of African American history, the slave trade. You’re at the bottom of the museum, almost as if you’re at the bottom of a slave ship. You read about the experiences, you read about the history, and it’s just devastating. And you wonder about the human spirit and wonder about are people good or are they evil, and all these existential questions go through your mind. And then as you go up one level, each level, there’s more and more hope, and you have more and more faith in the human spirit, and you’re amazed at the resilience of how would any of us have responded in similar circumstances. And yet you get to that top level, where there’s this amazing cultural excellence of the African American community through sports, history, politics, medicine, music. So it’s really very uplifting, but it’s also very demoralizing at the same time, and so you run through that whole gamut of emotions.”

Shaun Livingston

“Just the amount of information that’s in there is incredible. … That place is huge. It’d take like two days to see it all. The Middle Passage was my favorite part. That’s the brunt of slavery. You walk around there, it’s dark. It’s meant to capture the whole scene of being on the slave ships underneath. Grueling. Just an incredible experience, and there a lot of emotions that come with that.”

David West

“There were a few things. The Paul Robeson piece, I don’t know why I had skipped over it, but that was pretty interesting. I had got some of his audio; I don’t know why I hadn’t seen that before. That was a good piece. There’s a lot of very important pieces in there. A lot of great stories. I thought that was important too, the young kids getting the stories.”

Quinn Cook

Cook mentioned Australian sprinter Peter Norman, who spoke with Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos before their protest at the 1968 Summer Olympics, “and wore one of the patches they were wearing. He got backlash from Australia. He thought about committing suicide. … It was just breathtaking and I just learned so much, but that really stuck out to me.”

Kevin Durant

We asked Durant if there was one thing from the museum that stood out in particular.

“All of it,” he said.

“That was the first time I’d been in there, so it was definitely cool learning some more stuff. And just being there with my teammates and kids with my neighborhoods was pretty cool. It was beautiful. They put a lot of time and effort into it, and it shows a lot about African American culture. I feel like everybody needs to see it.”

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