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[NY Times] Tragedy Made Steve Kerr See the World Beyond the Court

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by Os Trigonum, Dec 23, 2016.

  1. Os Trigonum

    Os Trigonum It. Deserves. Its. Own. Thread.
    Supporting Member

    May 2, 2014
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    Incredible article about Steve Kerr. Have to admit I didn't know about any of this.


    Tragedy Made Steve Kerr See the World Beyond the Court

    The Golden State Warriors coach draws
    from the assassination of his father
    to make sense of a complicated world.

    By JOHN BRANCHDEC. 22, 2016

    The last time Steve Kerr was in Beirut, his birthplace, with the bombs pounding the runway and the assassination of his father six months away, he left by car.

    The airport was closed. There was talk of taking a cruise ship to Cyprus, or accompanying an ambassador on a helicopter to Tel Aviv or even crossing into Israel on a bus. A military plane headed to Cairo had an empty seat, but it went to someone else. Finally, a hired driver took Kerr over the Lebanon Mountains and across the Syrian border to Damascus, then on to Amman, Jordan. It felt like an escape.

    “I’m fearful that all this uncertainty and inconvenience, not to mention even a sense of physical danger, has not done Steve’s image of Beirut much good, and in his present mood he wonders what any of us are doing here,” his father, Malcolm H. Kerr, the president of American University of Beirut, wrote to other family members that day in August 1983.

    A few months later, Malcolm Kerr was shot twice in the back of the head outside his university office.

    Steve Kerr was 18 then, quiet and sports-obsessed. He was a lightly recruited freshman at the University of Arizona, before it was a basketball power. It took a vivid imagination to see him becoming an N.B.A. champion as a player and a coach, now leading the Golden State Warriors.

    But perhaps it should be no surprise that, at 51, Kerr has found his voice in public discourse, talking about much more than basketball: heavy topics like gun control, national-anthem protests, presidential politics and Middle East policy. With an educated and evenhanded approach, he steps into discussions that most others in his position purposely avoid or know little about, chewing through the gray areas in a world that increasingly paints itself in bold contrasts.

    In many ways, he has grown into an echo of his father.

    “The truly civilized man is marked by empathy,” Malcolm Kerr wrote in a foreword to a collection of essays called “The Arab-Israeli Confrontation of June 1967: An Arab Perspective.” “By his recognition that the thought and understanding of men of other cultures may differ sharply from his own, that what seems natural to him may appear grotesque to others.”

    In a rare and sometimes emotional interview this fall, Kerr spoke about the death of his father and his family’s deep roots in Lebanon and the Middle East. Some of the words sounded familiar.

    “Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and look at it from a bigger perspective,” he said. “We live in this complex world of gray areas. Life is so much easier if it could be black and white, good and evil.”

    Providing commentary on the state of today’s politics and culture is not a prerequisite for Kerr’s job. There are sports fans, maybe the majority of them, who wish athletes and coaches would keep their nonsports opinions to themselves — stand for the anthem, be thankful for your good fortune, express only humility, and provide little but smiles and autographs.

    Kerr understands that. Sports are a diversion for most who follow them, “only meaningful to us and our fans,” he said. In a sports world that takes itself too seriously, that perspective is part of the appeal of Kerr and the Warriors. They won the 2015 N.B.A. championship, were runners-up last season and remain a top team this season. They seem to be having more fun than anyone else.

    But Kerr also knows that sports are an active ingredient of American culture. He knows, as well as anyone, that players are complicated, molded by background, race, religion and circumstance.

    Much more at the link. Very good article.

    DreamRun95 and Communist like this.
  2. DreamRun95

    DreamRun95 Member

    Oct 21, 2013
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    Yep totally agree, definitely a great read. I knew already about his father's assassination and Beirut, but this article really goes in depth and explores it. I have read alot of autobiographies of players and coaches and its always interesting to see their journey and how it shaped them.
  3. napalm06

    napalm06 Fire Bill O'Brien
    Supporting Member

    Sep 30, 2008
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    Fascinating/sad story.

    It doesn't affect my dislike of Steve Kerr's opinions and personality, but I say that because in spite of that, my respect for him grows by a huge amount. I give him immense credit for rising to the person he is today and keeping a positive perspective on life.
    Man likes this.

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