Nowadays, Steve Kerr is more known as a great coach and the brain behind the Golden State Warriors winning three championships and being one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history. Kerr was never a franchise cornerstone, but he had a role on a few of the best teams ever, won five championships, and made big plays when it mattered the most, most notably with the Chicago Bulls in the '90s. During their second three-peat, Kerr was one of the key players from the bench, bringing his shooting ability to the mighty Bulls led by Jordan, Pippen, and the rest of the crew.
They had their fair share of battles throughout the years
Even though the league was packed with talented players at the point guard position in the '90s, there was one guy Kerr hated to face but played him numerous times throughout his career. One of the best point guards ever, John Stockton. Stockton had an illustrious career, being the epitome of a floor general and becoming the all-time leader in assists and steals. The only knock you could pin him was not winning a championship.
Stockton was known as a super nice and a low-key family guy off the court, but he was ready to do anything to win when he stepped inside those lines, and Kerr knew all about it. The Bulls would play the Jazz in two straight Finals in 1997 and 1998, matching up the two guards. Kerr himself described how that went a few years ago on Open Court while talking about the subject of players they hated to play against:
"We played Utah two years in a row, twelve games against John Stockton. I have the greatest respect for him. I see him away from the court. Love him. Great guy. But he was a dirty bastard! I've never seen a therapist about this. This is my time,"
Steve Kerr, Open Court
Stockton was the ultimate floor general
He maybe didn't look like it, but Stockton had that sneaky dirty style of play, knowing how and when to hit you without anyone noticing and not backing down from anybody. But it didn't help him in those Finals, as he underperformed in both of them, averaging just 12.3ppg and 8.6apg on 45,5% from the floor in those games. As a result, the Jazz lost both Finals series, allowing Steve Kerr to have the last laugh and being able to talk about his tough battles with Stockton with a smile on his face knowing he came out as a winner in the end.
Despite never winning a championship, John Stockton has a lot of respect among his peers, and throughout the years, many stories surfaced that showcase just that. Gary Payton said he had the most challenging time guarding Stockton, especially since he never responded to his trash talking. Baron Davis is another one that was surprised by how good Stockton was actually and later tried to pattern his game by watching him. They both expressed the same thing Kerr said about Stockton, describing him as an ultimate competitor looking to do anything to help his team win, setting the bar high for everyone else.