On December 13, the NBA announced that it was renaming the regular-season MVP award after Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan. Kerr played alongside Jordan on three title teams, and said he believes it’s the right call to honor Jordan with the award. Kerr also recalled his time playing with His Airness, and how the NBA’s newly named award made him think about his own career.
Kerr Sounds Off on Former Teammate
The league revealed its revamped MVP award on Tuesday, showing off the newly designed trophy that honors the five-time MVP. The NBA also renamed other awards to honor past legends, including the Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy for Defensive Player of the Year and Wilt Chamberlain Trophy for Rookie of the Year.
“Our new collection of trophies celebrates some of the greatest and most impactful players in the history of the NBA,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement, via ESPN’s Kirk Goldsberry. “As we recognize the league’s top performers each season, we also pay tribute to the legends who embody these prestigious awards.”
Speaking to NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday, Kerr said Jordan’s new honor is well-deserved.
“Oh, I think it means a lot to him,” Kerr said. “This is a guy who went to the Finals six times, won six times and won Finals MVP all six times. So, he was the obvious choice if you were going to name the trophy after someone.”
Kerr added that the newly renamed award made him think about his own playing career.
“For a guy like Michael Jordan, you can only imagine as great as he was night in and night out, that’s a big sense of loss to no longer be able to go out and do that,” he said. “So I think there is a certain amount of reflection that all of us go through and it’s fun to think back to the good times, and it’s an incredible honor to have your name attached to something like that.”
Kerr Praised Jordan’s Legacy
Kerr has always been one of the biggest boosters for Jordan, praising his legacy and unmatched skill set. Speaking to Jon Greenberg of The Athletic earlier this year, Kerr said there was no other player quite like Jordan.
“I mean, he is the greatest player of all time, so there’s a reason that most people agree on that,” Kerr said. “It goes beyond the shotmaking, it’s the totality of everything. He just had this incredible package of skill and knowledge and experience and it all added up to this aura he was just better than everyone by far. I think the most underrated aspect of Michael’s game was his emotional dominance in the arena every night. And I still have not seen that from anybody.”
The accolades reflect that — Jordan is second only to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in lifetime MVP awards and one of only three players to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.
“There was just this sense from everybody in the gym, the opponent, the other coaching staff, the officials, fans, there was just a sense that he was better than everybody and he was going to dominate the game,” Kerr said of Jordan’s legacy. “And he was kind of invincible. So it went beyond his skill set and his competitiveness and his size and speed and footwork. It just went beyond all that because he was so dominant emotionally. It was like he cast a spell over every game.”