Steve Kerr’s past drives his passion well beyond just basketball.
As the NBA season gets underway, you’re going to hear a lot of talk. Talk of the great Lonzo Ball by his father and talk of the new Nike uniforms from diehard fans. Then there will be the talk of the Warriors ‘dynasty.’ Love or hate them, they’re the favourites once again this year. Yet despite the chatter about Golden State’s greatness, one key voice doesn’t get the attention it deserves. That is the voice of Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, which can and should be very influential. To understand where this comes from, you first have to look at Kerr's upbringing.
Steve Kerr’s childhood circled around academics, thanks to his two intellectual parents. Ann and Malcolm Kerr first met in Beirut, the place where Steve would be born. Ann was in her third year of college and taking a year abroad to study at the American University of Beirut when she met Malcolm Kerr, who was a professor at the university.
“On January 18, 1984, Malcolm Kerr, a man aiming to unite Muslims, Jews and Christians, took two bullets in the head as he was walking to his office.”
Malcolm, Steve’s father, always had a strong relationship with knowledge. Both his parents were teachers at American, and he himself was a well-respected intellectual in his field of political science.
His main research involved the politics and affairs of the Middle East; many even considered him to be the one who would create a solution that could bring peace to the area. These credentials gave him the job opportunity to become the President of the American University of Beirut in 1982. It was his dream job.
Steve Kerr would go on to attend high school in Los Angeles, as it was his best chance to earn a scholarship to play collegiate basketball. He would end up playing at the University of Arizona. He excelled in Tucson, helping the Wildcats reach the Final Four in 1988 while earning All-American status. Yet, the greatest obstacle he experienced came in 1984 during his freshman year. What started as a year of enjoying the perks of college later became the year that changed his life. On January 18, 1984, Malcolm Kerr, a man aiming to unite Muslims, Jews and Christians, took two bullets in the head as he was walking to his office.
You will rarely hear Steve mention his father in press conferences, but the influence is prevalent in his life nonetheless. Kerr has acknowledged in the past that his father taught him the importance of compassion and unity, and this message Kerr has used in northern California to great effect.
The Warriors are chasing their third championship in the last four years, and hold the record for most wins in the regular season under Kerr. Their motto remaining "Strength In Numbers,"
Kerr has also started to make his voice more prominent in politics. A couple of weeks ago, he wrote an article in Sports Illustrated that in essence was a message to the President. He criticized the President for “belittling people and calling them names.” The article came out not too long after the Warriors were “uninvited” to the White House. This was at the same time that the President insulted NFL players who sat or kneeled during the national anthem. With all of this in mind, Kerr ended his message to Trump in the most poignant way possible: “Bring us together.”
Despite continuing to deal with the effects of a back surgery, Steve Kerr pushes on. He pushes on because of his passion for unity in basketball and in society. He pushes on because he wants to spread his father’s message, a message that more people should listen to.