Steve Kerr‘s only coaching job in the NBA has been as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors. It’s been hard to call his tenure anything other than an unmitigated success — he’s won a whole lot of games and three NBA championships, along with a gold medal as an assistant coach that he was able to parlay into a job coaching Team USA.
It can get lost to history that Kerr taking over the Warriors as they searched for a coach was not a given thing. At the time, Kerr had the option to head to the Bay Area or coach the New York Knicks, which were run by his old coach with the Chicago Bulls, Phil Jackson. During an appearance on The Problem with Jon Stewart, Kerr explained some of his rationale for turning down Jackson’s offer to head to Golden State.
Steve Kerr on why he took the Warriors job in 2014, ahead of the Knicks offer.
Talent is everything. pic.twitter.com/y7OAZpzbAf
— Gboye (@mcgboye) December 10, 2021
“I talked to coaching friends of mine, and they all said the same thing, they said, ‘Your talent is everything in coaching,’” Kerr said. “And it’s true. I remember saying Phil Jackson is my guy, and one of my good friends said, ‘Which job do you think Phil would take?’ I was like, ooh, man, and that kinda got me. Because think about it: Phil Jackson takes the Bulls job when he’s got Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and his career takes off. Pat Reilly takes the Laker job when he’s got Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. We’re all dependent on our talent as coaches, and the Warriors were already good — they were a 50-win team, they’ve got all this young talent.”
Kerr went on to say that if he did, indeed, decide to join the Knicks, he believes he “would have been spun through that cycle and been gone in two years, guaranteed.” He might be onto something, because since 2014, New York has had four full-time head coaches.