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“I owe him everything” — Steve Kerr on how Michael Jordan opened the doors for him

Steve Kerr believes Michael Jordan didn't just put rings on his fingers, but also helped set up his post-NBA career.
Chicago Bulls guards Michael Jordan and Steve Kerr

Michael Jordan and Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr has one of the most envious basketball careers as a coach and player. The man won five championship rings in a jersey and four wearing a crisp suit. Yet Kerr is not the type who toots his own horn. According to the Golden State Warriors coach, he owes all of his success to Michael Jordan.

“Michael Jordan changed the rest of my life.”

Kerr was the 50th pick in the 1988 NBA Draft. Before he joined the Chicago Bulls in 1993, he played for the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Orlando Magic. After his NBA career, Kerr joined the media and then the front office, which according to him, was due to his ties with Jordan.

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For me, [playing with Jordan] completely changed the rest of my life. To that point, I had bounced around. I was just an average player. I was able to play on these championship teams, made a name for myself, was able to get into TV, into broadcasting, into management and coaching. And the reason people hired me for these jobs later on is because I had played next to Michael Jordan and I had been part of championship teams,” Kerr said on NBC Sports’ “Sports Uncovered” podcast.

It was a dramatic impact on my life at the time but really the rest of my career, the rest of my life. So I kind of owe Michael,” Kerr added.

Kerr may be right in his reading, but he may have taken it too far. TV companies don’t just hire people because of their backgrounds. They have to deliver on the job, too. Kerr was a very good broadcaster who effectively pointed out the game’s nuances. He was so good that he provided the in-game commentary voice for the multiple iterations of the video game NBA Live and NBA 2k.

Training ground

While Jordan may not be the sole reason for Kerr’s post-NBA success, the Warriors coach’s broadcasting career may have equipped him with the proper skills to be a great coach. For one, as a color analyst, his job was to parse the game using his trained basketball eye. And he has to communicate his thoughts to a general audience who do not necessarily see and understand the game on an intricate level as he does.

Apart from honing his communication skills, his observation and scouting eyes were also trained. This is imperative, especially at the sport’s highest level or for any industry. As they say, the devil is in the details. Kerr’s job as a broadcaster was to spot the nuances contributing to a win or a loss. But sure, having "played with Michael Jordan" on the resume didn't hurt. 

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