"Jordan would stop the bus until he got more shots than Kerr"

Steve Kerr is 55 years old and is one of the key figures to understand the current NBA. Warriors coach since 2014, has won three rings in the Bay after masterfully directing one of the great teams of all time in the Bay, the one that Stephen Curry still commands and in which Kevin Durant played. Before, as a player, the pedigree The Beirut-born, California-raised shooting guard is unquestionable: an excellent outside shooting guard, a specialist before that role proliferated in the NBA, Kerr played for fifteen years in the League and He was a five-time champion with two of the great teams of all time: Michael Jordan’s Bulls (1996, 1997 and 1998) and Gregg Popovich’s Spurs (1999 and 2003).

Steve Kerr’s great moment, you know, came in the 1997 Finals against the Jazz thanks to his winning shot in the final moments of the sixth and final match. Kerr received a pass from Jordan to the light bulb head and scored on jump. A shot that he took with his eyes closed but crucial because of the importance of the moment and because Jordan delegated to him at the moment when the title was at stake. After Kerr’s basket, the Jazz had five seconds, but Scottie Pippen stole Bryon Russell’s serve and assisted Tony Kukoc, who closed the Finals with a mate (90-86) with the delirium already unleashed at the United Center. Kerr, a joke very his stylehe joked later at the celebration when he said that he had told Jordan and Pippen in the timeout before that play that he was there to pull the chestnuts out of the fire one more time.

Kerr had another moment for his particular legend with Michael Jordan: the punch in training. The 2. 3, you know, competed to an obsessive level, and demanded the maximum from everyone, with some ways in the dressing room and in the way of leading his team that have later been questioned and that the documentary The last dance They made it clear despite the fact that it was Jordan’s own version that guided the entire narrative.

At training camp In the 1995-96 season, which ended the historic 72-10, Kerr and Jordan became entangled, the latter tried to solve it by pulling on his physique and Kerr, much lighter, was not daunted. The result was a fight in which Jordan punched Kerr and he started to respond while his teammates tried to put peace and his eye began to turn purple.. “He was like the boy from Jurassic Park who was attacked by the velociraptor” he said after laughing. and to explain his obvious physical inferiority. More seriously, the now coach always assures that this incident cemented their relationship instead of spoiling it, because Jordan liked having guys by his side who did not shrink from challenges. “It’s strange but that’s the way it was, it suited us well. I wouldn’t say it’s something I would recommend doing to people, but in that case I know Michael was testing me, and I responded. I think I passed his test and he started to trust me”.

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Jordan’s competitiveness with Kerr didn’t end there. Mandy Cohen, a television producer who covered the Bulls in those years, has said in an interview that Jordan was obsessed with shooting better than Kerr. Always ready to take on challenges, bet on himself, and beat everyone at everything, Jordan had a need to beat the best shooter on his team in a little shooting contest from the center of the field that the Bulls used to do after practice. . “Kerr was the best shooter out of three back then. And after each shooting session everyone would shoot from the center of the field to see who could hit it. And many times you had to stand there waiting until Jordan put in more than Kerr. No one could go anywhere, and when necessary the team bus would stop until Jordan won and was ready to go. It was his personality, he couldn’t lose anything ”.

The one that was a producer of WGN TV He also remembers that sometimes Jordan would get on the plane still shouting for decisions of the referees even in games in which they had beaten win: “Once I sat in my seat on the plane and he stood in front of me and started yelling at me that he hadn’t taken steps in a play. in which they had been pointed out. And I told him why was he yelling at me if I hadn’t refereed the game ”.

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