In 2011, the Golden State Warriors hired Mark Jackson, a former NBA player with no coaching experience, as their head coach. After a difficult first season, Jackson led the Warriors to consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since the early 1990s. Nevertheless, the Warriors fired him in May. His replacement is another former NBA player who has never coached before, Steve Kerr.
Born on Sept. 27, 1965, in Beruit, Lebanon, Kerr attended high school in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and then the University of Arizona. 1986 was a big year for Kerr, as he won a gold medal with the USA Basketball team at the World Championships in Madrid, Spain, and was an All-Pac 10 guard for the first time. Kerr received the honor again two years later, the same year the Wildcats appeared in the Final Four for the first time. He didn't have to travel far when he turned pro: the Phoenix Suns drafted him in the second round of the 1988 draft with the 50th overall pick. Kerr left Arizona with the best three-point percentage in school history, 57.3 percent, a record he still holds today.
Kerr played only 26 games in his rookie year. He signed with the Suns as a free agent in late August 1989, only to be traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers less than two weeks later. His 50.7 percent three-point percentage led the NBA in the 1989-90 season. The Cavaliers traded him to the Orlando Magic in December 1992, and in September 1993 he joined the Chicago Bulls as a free agent. He led the league with a 52.3 percent three point percentage during his second season in the Windy City. The first of his five championship rings came while serving as a Bulls reserve in 1996.
For all his shooting proficiency, Kerr's missed three-point attempt caused the Bulls to lose Game Four of the 1997 Finals to the Utah Jazz. With Game Six in Chicago nearing its end and tied at 86, Bulls coach Phil Jackson drew up a play that ended with the ball in the hands of Michael Jordan, whose shots had clinched his team's victories in the first and fifth games. Jordan, however, believed he would be double-teamed and told Kerr he would be taking the shot. Utah's John Stockton did indeed come to help Byron Russell guard Jordan, and Jordan passed to an open Kerr, who sank the basket. The Jazz failed to score on their last possession, and the Bulls won the game and the title. The Bulls won a third straight championship in 1998.
The Bulls traded Kerr to the San Antonio Spurs in January 1999. Although the setting was different, the end result wasn't, with the Spurs winning that year's title. The Spurs traded Kerr to the Portland Trail Blazers in July 2011, and the Trail Blazers traded him back to San Antonio a year later. Shortly after the Spurs won the 2003 championship, Kerr retired. He has the best career three-point average in NBA history at 45.4 percent.
Kerr spent the first four years following his retirement providing commentary for TNT and Yahoo! Sports. He returned to the Suns in June 2007 as general manager and president of basketball operations. Phoenix won 55 games in Kerr's first year on the job but lost in the opening round of the playoffs. The Suns won 46 games in 2006-09 but failed to make the postseason. They recovered the following year to win 54 games and advance to the 2010 Western Conference Finals. Kerr left the Suns in June 2010 and returned to TNT, where he worked until being hired by Golden State.