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NBA - US Sports: Steve Kerr - NBA Legend

20 June 2022 12:09:53 EST
Steve Kerr has now won four NBA titles as a coach to go with five he won as a player

When Steve Kerr was drafted in the second round of the 1988 NBA draft, nobody could have predicted the success he would enjoy.

The former Arizona Wildcats college ace was part of a record-breaking Chicago Bulls team as a player, before then going on to also enjoy massive success as a coach.

This week, Kerr is celebrating again having helped Golden State Warriors to another NBA title to cement his place in basketball folklore.

The 56-year-old is the first person to win three or more titles as both a player and a coach and there could be plenty more still to come for this NBA legend.

The early days

Kerr is one of four children and was born in 1965 in Beirut, Lebanon, where his dad was based as an academic - specialising in the Middle East.

His father, Malcolm, though was tragically killed at the age of just 52 after being shot by militia, when Steve was just 18 years of age.

Kerr moved to America in 1983 and went to the University of Arizona, studying history, English and sociology whilst also shining on the basketball court.

He was named in the US national team - made up of amateurs - to compete in the World Championship in Spain in 1986, with the Americans claiming gold and there began the winning run.

NBA life as a player

After being drafted by the Phoenix Suns in 1988, the point guard spent just one year in Arizona before joining the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1989.

Ohio was his home for three seasons before another NBA move, when Kerr was traded to the Orlando Magic - who had only been a franchise for three years.

Again that was a short stay, playing just one season in Florida before he moved on to a Chicago Bulls team that had high hopes of becoming title contenders.

They made the play-offs in 1993-94 and then again in 1994-95, with a certain Michael Jordan starting to have a big impact on the league.

The Bulls claimed their first NBA Championship in the 1995-96 campaign, with an incredible 72-10 record, before going on to dominate the league in the remaining seasons of the 90s.

Kerr won four titles in Chicago, with his most notable success coming in 1997 when he scored in the final seconds of Game Six against the Utah Jazz to seal the title.

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At the age of 33, the NBA Three-Point Contest winner left the Bulls and joined the San Antonio Spurs for three seasons before a short spell with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Kerr still wasn't finished though and went back to San Antonio in 2002, collecting his fifth and final NBA title as a player in the 2002-03 season, before then retiring at the age of 38.

Coach Kerr shines at GSW

Having been both a consultant and General Manager with the Phoenix Suns, Kerr began his coaching career with the Golden State Warriors in 2013.

Learning from the great Phil Jackson, who was his coach in Chicago, Kerr employed some of his old boss' tactics and couldn't have asked for a better start.

The Warriors won the NBA Championship in his first season in charge – beating Cleveland in the Finals – before going on to win two more titles in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

It has obviously helped that he has one of the best three-point shooters of all time at his disposal in Steph Curry, but Kerr has continually got the best out of the roster.

This season's success with Golden State has been possibly even more impressive than the others, especially when considering they had missed the play-offs in the two previous campaigns.

After finishing third in the Western Conference following the regular season schedule, they blew away their opponents in the play-offs – losing just six of 22 games en route to lifting the trophy.

It's now nine titles for Kerr, five as a player and four as a coach, and the Warriors are available at 7.00 to make it Championship number 10 for the NBA legend in 2022-23.

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