Steve Kerr explains what led to his famous decision to coach Warriors over Knicks
Very few decisions have aged better than Steve Kerr choosing to coach the Golden State Warriors over the New York Knicks. Now Kerr is explaining what led to that famous choice.
In a recent interview on “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” Kerr discussed what exactly drew him to the Warriors instead of the Knicks in 2014.
“I talked to coaching friends of mine,” said Kerr. “They all said the same thing. They said, ‘Your talent is everything in coaching.’ And it’s true.
“You know, [then-Knicks president] Phil Jackson is my guy,” Kerr went on. “One of my good friends said, ‘Which job do you think Phil would take?’ And I was like, “Ooh, man.’ And that kinda got me. Think about it, Phil Jackson takes the Bulls job when he’s got Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and his career takes off. Pat Riley takes the Laker job when he’s got Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. We’re all dependent on our talent as coaches. The Warriors were already good. They were a 50-win team, all this young talent.”
It is obvious in hindsight that Kerr made the right choice. He led Golden State to five straight Finals appearances from 2015 to 2019, winning three championships. After a brief downturn, the Warriors now once again have the best record in the NBA in short order.
But the decision was probably a bit tougher at the time that Kerr made it. He ultimately bet on young players such as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in Golden State over veterans like Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire in New York. The bet paid off, and Kerr ended up taking the Warriors from first-round exit to an eventual dynasty. Meanwhile, the Knicks hired Derek Fisher instead and went 17-65 the next year. Fisher was fired in the middle of his second season.
Kerr has openly admitted that he would not have lasted in New York either. It sounds like Kerr definitely has his friend to thank for giving him proper perspective ahead of what ended up being a life-altering decision.
H/T NBA Reddit
Photo: Jan 18, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr stands on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Orlando Magic at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports