American basketball coach and former player Stephen Douglas Kerr is now associated with the Golden State Warriors. Five times as a player, three times as the head coach of the Warriors, twice with the San Antonio Spurs, and once each with the Chicago Bulls and the San Antonio Spurs. Kerr, who was born and reared in the Middle East, played basketball for the Palisades Dolphins while he was a student at Palisades Charter High School in Los Angeles, California. Kerr participated in collegiate basketball for the Arizona Wildcats. He signed on with the Phoenix Suns in 1988 to start his professional career before being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Before joining the Chicago Bulls, he played three seasons with them and one season with the Orlando Magic. Kerr was crucial in helping the Bulls win their second championship. He was acquired by the Spurs from the Bulls in 1999, and after they won the Championship, Kerr became one of just two players to have four straight NBA championships. Kerr concluded his playing career with the Spurs in 2003 after spending a season with the Portland Trail Blazers. He has worked as a television analyst since his retirement and served as the Suns’ general manager from 2007 to 2010. He became the Warriors’ head coach in 2014.
Early Childhood & Life
Steve Kerr was one of the four children of Ann (née Zwicker) and Malcolm H. Kerr when he was born on September 27, 1965, in Beirut, Lebanon. John and Andrew are his brothers, and Susan is his sister. Since the 1920s, his family had been a resident of Beirut.
Stanley and Elsa Kerr, his paternal grandparents, traveled to the Middle East as Near East Relief volunteers. His father Malcolm served as a professor there before rising to the position of president.
The majority of Kerr’s childhood was spent in Beirut and other Middle Eastern cities. Before moving to the United States to attend Palisades High School (now Palisades Charter High School), he received his education at Cairo American College in Egypt and the American Community School in Beirut, Lebanon. He played basketball for the Palisades Dolphins when he was there and became quite interested in the sport.
His father was murdered by the Islamic Jihad on January 18, 1984, while Kerr was 18 years old and a freshman at the University of Arizona. Kerr was devastated by his father’s unexpected death. Later, he said, “My life was impenetrable until my father was killed. Others experienced bad things.
In order to pursue a degree in general studies, Kerr eventually enrolled at the University of Arizona despite not being a highly sought-after prospect in high school. He successfully competed for the Arizona Wildcats basketball team. He really found his playing form during this time, which caught the eye of NBA scouts.
Between 1983 and 1988, Kerr played for Arizona for five seasons, making 129 appearances and averaging 11.2 points per game. He participated in the 1986 FIBA World Championship gold-medal-winning USA basketball team in Spain. He earned a Bachelor of General Studies degree from Arizona two years later, with a focus on history, sociology, and English.
Career in the Profession
Steve Kerr was selected by the Phoenix Suns in the second round of the 1988 NBA Draft after going undrafted. On March 11, 1989, he played in his first NBA game, which the Phoenix Suns ultimately lost to the Milwaukee Bucks. He was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers the next season, where he played for three seasons before being traded to the Orlando Magic for the 1992–93 campaign.
He was acquired by the Chicago Bulls in 1993. The Bulls struggled throughout his first two seasons with the franchise as they continued to miss Michael Jordan after his initial retirement. They reached the playoffs but were unable to win the championship.
In the 1995–96 season, Jordan made a full comeback, which had a significant impact on how well the team played on the court. That year, as well as the following two, they went on to win the NBA title.
Jordan made an unbelievable pass to Kerr in game six of the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz, setting up the shot that won the game for Kerr. He was acquired by the Spurs in 1999, giving him the opportunity to play for Gregg Popovich, a great coach. The Spurs won their first NBA title in league history that year after playing outstandingly all season.
Kerr was moved to the Portland Trail Blazers for the 2001–02 season, despite their previous season’s success. He scored 4.1 points per game on average while playing 65 games for the Blazers.
For what would be his final season playing professionally, Kerr moved back to San Antonio. He played a big role in the Spurs’ second NBA championship and yet another successful season.
Kerr finished his career having played 910 games and averaging 6.0 points per contest. He won the NBA Three-Point Shootout title in 1997. The Arizona Wild Cats retired the No. 25 jersey in his honor.
The Middle Years of Steve Kerr
Steve Kerr began working as a television analyst for Turner Network Television (TNT) in 2003, not long after he had retired. He worked with Marv Albert on the commentary crew. Additionally, he hosted a segment called “Steve’s Refreshing Thoughts” where he provided fascinating anecdotes about the sport’s past. Later, the program was known as “Steve Wonders.” Additionally, he worked as an NBA analyst on Yahoo!
After taking a job as the Suns’ general manager, he momentarily left broadcasting, but he returned to TNT for the 2010–11 NBA season. Between 2011 and 2015, Kerr also offered analysis for CBS and Turner Sports and frequently contributed to the sports website Grantland.
Kerr joined the new owners of his former franchise, the Phoenix Suns, in 2004. He was chosen to take over as the franchise’s new general manager in June 2007. Even though he had an outstanding playing career and a remarkable coaching career, his tenure as the Suns’ general manager was unsatisfactory.
He was extensively involved in management and continuously changing the Suns’ roster. The Suns, however, persisted in being one of the NBA clubs without a championship victory, as they still are today.
On June 15, 2010, he stepped down as the Suns’ president and general manager, but he held his 1% ownership stake in the team until 2014.
Golden State Warriors head coach
On May 14, 2014, Steve Kerr became the Golden State Warriors’ head coach. The Warriors had not captured an NBA title since 1975, and they had also performed horribly in their division.
Following his employment, Kerr chose to implement the triangle offense, a style of play frequently used by his Chicago Bulls mentor Phil Jackson. In the end, the Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals to claim their first NBA championship in 40 years.
He needed back surgery in July 2015 as a result of back problems that started following the 2015 NBA Finals. The procedure, meanwhile, was a failure because it caused a spinal fluid leak. He then had a second operation in September of that same year. As the Warriors’ interim head coach, he hired Luke Walton, a former player and one of his coaches.
The Warriors enjoyed a 39-4 record under Walton in the 2015–16 season before Kerr returned, demonstrating the wisdom of the decision. The Cavaliers and Warriors met again in the NBA finals that year after the Warriors advanced that far. However, the Cavaliers won this time.
On November 20, 2016, the NBA’s governing board fined him $25,000 for his public criticism of NBA executives while he was a guest on KNBR 680’s radio show on November 17.
The Cavaliers were defeated by Kerr’s Warriors in both the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals. In 2015 and 2017, he was appointed the NBA All-Star Game’s head coach. In 2018, he was presented with the Rudy Tomjanovich Award.
Individual Life of Steve Kerr
In 1985, Steve Kerr and Margot met and became engaged. They were both University of Arizona students, and a friend of theirs hooked them up on a blind date. On September 15, 1990, after nearly five years of courtship, the couple got hitched. Together, they are parents to two sons named Nick and Matthew and one daughter named Madeleine.
Julie Davenport’s actress buddy Kerr is a close family friend.