It's incredible to think that in Steve Kerr's seven years with the Golden State Warriors as a head coach, he delivered three NBA Championships out of five trips to the NBA Finals. Now in his eighth year, the Warriors are one of the top favorites to win it all once again. It can be challenging to parse out what makes Kerr such a great coach. Steph Curry, easily Kerr's best player, offered an interesting explanation of why his head coach has an advantage over almost all his colleagues.
Kerr's career arc
Curry shared his thoughts on what he's learned from Kerr and what makes the head coach truly one of the greats. In addition to Kerr's kind-hearted nature, Curry also pointed out how the head coach's previous careers have shaped him into who he is today.
"He just brought his humility, his consistency and his empathy for people. That's a big part of his career and just understanding what it takes to be an NBA player, all the different things that have to go right within an organization to put yourselves in position to be successful. He's been in pretty much every seat, player, coach, GM, analyst, everywhere in between. He has a lot of different vantage points on how to communicate and manage people. The care level is through the roof in terms of (players) 1-15, like we're going to approach it the same way," Curry said, per NBC Sports.
Most NBA fans have been forced to reminisce on Kerr's career as a player whenever Michael Jordan's name gets mentioned. After all, Kerr was part of the Chicago Bulls squad whom Jordan guided to a threepeat from 1995 to 1998. A designated 3-point assassin, Kerr even hit a title-winning shot in the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz.
While we regularly get reminded of the time Kerr once donned an NBA jersey, some have forgotten the part of his basketball life as a broadcaster and a team executive. From 2003 up until the mid-2010s, fans heard Kerr's basketball commentary either on actual NBA games or in the yearly iterations of NBA Live or NBA 2k. There was even a time when NBA 2k15 still featured his commentary despite being a head coach for the Warriors.
From 2004 to 2010, Kerr was a team executive for the Phoenix Suns. In 2007, when he was named general manager, he pulled off an unorthodox move by inserting Shawn Marion — one of the team's core stars — into a trade package to acquire an aging Shaquille O'Neal. He also traded away other core players like Raja Bell and Boris Diaw during his tenure as GM. As expected, these moves didn't turn out well for the Suns, who slipped down into a midtier team from being one of the elites.
By the time Kerr was named the Warriors' head coach in 2014, he had a pretty firm grasp of how to do his job. His stint as an NBA player taught him how to play a sport at its highest echelons. We can say that his career as a broadcaster honed his communication skills, while his career as an executive taught him about the politics of the sport. Kerr has definitely trekked a unique career path. Given his success so far, we can confidently say that it was the perfect path for him. He probably wouldn't have it any other way.