Steve Kerr had the chance to play with Michael Jordan and against Kobe Bryant in his career, and this week the Golden State Warriors head coach opened up about the similarities between the two icons.
Kerr shared some thoughts on the late Los Angeles Lakers legend, talking about what Bryant meant to the sport of basketball and to the entire Los Angeles area. His praise comes just days before Bryant’s induction into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame and what could be an unprecedented showdown between the Warriors and the Lakers.
The latest Warriors news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Warriors newsletter here!
Kerr Sees Shades of MJ in Kobe
Speaking to reporters this week, Kerr was asked to share his thoughts about Bryant’s impact on the NBA ahead of his Hall of Fame induction on Saturday. The Warriors coach and former Chicago Bulls sharpshooter said Bryant reminded him of his legendary former teammate.
“I think Kobe was the most similar player to Michael Jordan that I’ve ever seen,” Kerr said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “They shared so many of the same qualities, the competitive desire, the dominance, the emotional dominance of the game. It was no coincidence, he really patterned his game after Michael.”
Kerr, who was raised in Los Angeles and became a standout high school basketball player there before going on to play at Arizona, also had praise for what Bryant meant to the entire area.
“He’s really an icon in L.A., and I know how much Kobe meant to that city,” he said.
Kerr has raised connections between Bryant and Jordan in the past. After the Lakers legend’s tragic death early last year, Kerr recalled how Bryant was eager to learn everything he could from Jordan — and how Jordan was willing to teach him.
“I think the first time that I played against him was when I was in Chicago and he was with the Lakers. I just remember him asking Michael Jordan all these questions on the court the whole time,” Kerr said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “They were guarding each other, and I just could see he was trying to get pointers. It was pretty interesting. He was obviously nowhere close to the player he became but clearly had the audacity to think that he was going to be Michael Jordan, because he was asking him for pointers. And Michael was giving them to him.”
Lakers and Warriors on Collision Course
Kerr’s praise for the Lakers legend comes as his team appears headed for a playoff showdown in Tinseltown. The Warriors and Lakers are both currently in the league’s new four-team play-in bracket, with the Lakers holding on the No. 7 spot and the Warriors at No. 8. If the season ended today, the two would face off in a one-game playoff to determine the seventh seed in the playoff bracket, with the loser going on to face the winner of the No. 9 vs. No. 10 game to determine the eighth and final seed.
But Kerr wasn’t too keen on the idea of finishing in the top eight but still having to fight their way into the bracket — a potential matchup against the defending champions notwithstanding.
“If we’re ninth or 10th [in the Western Conference], I would love it,” Kerr joked to reporters, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “If we’re seventh or eighth, I think it’s total bullcrap.”
READ NEXT: Steph Curry Gets Honest About His Long-Term Future With the Warriors