The Kerr dynasty: player or coach, the boss of the warriors just wins | Sports News

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By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer

BOSTON (AP) — He hit a championship-winning shot with Michael Jordan. He calls the shots for Stephen Curry.

From clutch to coach, Steve Kerr has done it all for some of basketball’s greatest winners. Any team that can claim to be a dynasty in the past 30 years of the NBA has a connection to the Golden State coach.

Now back in Boston, the winning Warrior is one win away from a ninth NBA championship. It used to be that to earn that much you had to be a Celtic.

Kerr just has to beat them.

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If the Warriors win Game 6 on Thursday night, forget about another banner hanging in Boston. Instead, Kerr will celebrate under them.

If so, he’ll credit Curry and Klay Thompson, just as he did as a player with Jordan and Scottie Pippen, or Tim Duncan and David Robinson, in trying to explain his success.

“I just hang out with the right people,” he said with a smile. “You hang out with superstars long enough, you’ll get some residual success falling in your way.”

There is more than that, of course. Talent can get a team to the top, but staying there — and then getting back there after being knocked down — requires more than that. This requires understanding the staff on the pitch and the personalities in the locker room.

It means thinking the game as much as playing it, and Kerr does that with the best of them.

“The man’s knowledge of the game is second to none,” Thompson said.

Kerr didn’t quite win like Bill Russell, the Celtics Hall of Fame center who bagged 11 rings as a player. Nor as much as Phil Jackson, who won 11 of his own as a coach.

Yet when it comes to combining winning as a player and as a coach, few have done it better than Kerr.

He won five titles in uniform with Chicago and San Antonio. Add three as Golden State boss off the bench, and he’s the first person in NBA history to win at least three championships as a player and coach.

Add in a few stints as an analyst for TNT during his time as general manager of the Phoenix Suns, and Kerr has seen NBA basketball from nearly every angle.

“I mean, Steve’s had an amazing, unique career, from player to coach, GM. He just knows how to blend the talents,” Thompson said. “Then he draws inspiration from his playing days, which is really cool to hear and talk about, playing with Mike and Scottie, the San Antonio Twin Towers.”

Kerr was not a player like these Hall of Fame talents. A second-round pick in the 1988 draft, he started just 30 games in his career. He never averaged double digits in his 15 seasons, staying that long by being a good teammate and a better shot.

Most players aren’t superstars, and because he wasn’t, Kerr makes it a point to reach out to players like him.

Celtics guard Derrick White recalls Kerr helping him feel comfortable when he was promoted to the U.S. roster for the 2019 Basketball World Cup after originally being a player of the team training against the Americans.

“Anytime I needed a question or anything during this whole experience in the United States, he was there for me,” White said.

Says Kerr: “I definitely identify with role players more than I can identify with a star player, just because I have the experience of coming off the bench and trying to figure out a role and all that. .”

Being an actor doesn’t mean Kerr hasn’t played a big role.

Curry may be considered the greatest outside shooter of all time, but it is Kerr whose career mark of 45.4% from 3-point range is the highest in NBA history. He knocked down the jumper to secure the Bulls’ championship in 1997, joking at the victory celebration in Chicago that he stepped forward to shoot because Jordan didn’t feel comfortable doing so.

The confidence Kerr showed on the field back then is the same he shows in huddle now, a determination that Draymond Green says makes the Warriors feel “invincible.”

“There are times when we get a little shaken up as a team and he’s just there, a constant force, like, ‘Hey, man, calm down, calm down,'” Kerr said.

No surprises. He’s the same guy who once fought with Jordan in training.

These Warriors needed that stability more than they did during their three-title streak in four years from 2015-18. his return, Golden State was hardly complete before the playoffs and certainly not the powerhouse of recent years.

“We had to figure out some things on the fly,” their coach said.

Teams with Kerr usually do.

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