Steve Kerr: Evolution from being a role player to one of the best coaches in the NBA

Steve Kerr: Evolution from being a role player to one of the best coaches in the NBA

Steve Kerr, the current head coach of the Golden State Warriors is an eight-time NBA champion (three times with the Chicago Bulls and two times with the San Antonio Spurs) as well as three times with the Warriors as a head coach. Kerr was originally drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the second round (50th overall) of the 1988 NBA Draft out of the University of Arizona. Kerr capped his collegiate career as a senior in 1988 by helping lead the Wildcats to their first Final Four appearance. Kerr was also a member of the USA Basketball team that captured the 1986 World Championship in Madrid, the last American Men’s Senior Team composed strictly of amateur players to capture a gold medal.

During his playing career, Kerr played for some of the most successful coaches in the history of the game, including Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich, Lenny Wilkens, Cotton Fitzsimmons, and Lute Olson. Having made the playoffs 11 times during his playing career, Kerr is one of only 26 players in NBA history to win five championships. A key reserve for Chicago during the team’s three-peat championship run from 1996-98, Kerr famously hit the game-winning, title-clinching shot in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals. He won his fourth consecutive championship in 1999 with the San Antonio Spurs to become one of only two non-Boston Celtics to win four-straight NBA titles (joining Frank Saul, 1951-54).

On June 2, 2007, the Phoenix Suns named Kerr the team’s president of basketball operations and general manager. Kerr helped managing partner Robert Sarver to buy the Suns in 2004 and became one of Sarver’s trusted basketball advisors. Kerr announced his retirement from the Suns in June 2010. Afterwards, Kerr returned as a commentator for NBA on TNT until 2014, when he pursued a career in coaching.

On May 14, 2014, the Golden State Warriors named Kerr the team’s head coach. On April 4, 2015, with a win over the Dallas Mavericks, Kerr broke the NBA record for the most regular-season wins for a rookie coach. The Warriors went on to win the 2015 NBA Finals, making Kerr the first rookie coach to win a championship since Pat Riley in the 1982 NBA Finals. On April 13, 2016, the Warriors broke the record for the most wins in an NBA season, breaking a record previously held by Kerr’s 1995–96 Chicago Bulls. Since the start of the 1995-96 season, nine of the 10 best teams in offensive efficiency were either the mid-’90s Bulls (where Kerr played), the Nash-led Suns (where Kerr managed) or Kerr’s modern-day Warriors. The Warriors returned to the Finals for three straight years, losing in 2016 and winning again in 2017 and 2018.