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Grant Cohn: Steve Kerr walks the walk of a champ (w/video)

  • Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr gestures during a news conference Tuesday, May 20, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. Kerr knows he has never been a head coach at any level and there are questions about whether he can do the job. He says he's "willing to put the work in and put the right people around me" to prove he can. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

At Tuesday's press conference, Kerr, who also is 6-1, sat on a stool with his shoulders hunched. He rested his feet on the top rung of the stool so his knees came up to his bellybutton. He looked like a little kid. He looked like the un-Mark-Jackson.

Tuesday afternoon's press conference really was about the differences between Kerr and Jackson. You just had to look and listen closely.

Here is one of the first things Warriors general manager Bob Myers said about Kerr Tuesday afternoon. "When you strip it all away, what matters most is winning. And sitting to my left is somebody who has won at every level, and I don't think that can be understated. When you're around people that have won, it rubs off on you."

Translation: Kerr is a champion. Jackson is not. Jackson could lead the Warriors to the playoffs, but that was his limit. He doesn't know what it takes to win a championship because he never won one. Kerr knows what it takes because he won five as a player. He can teach Stephen Curry and the other young players how to become champions. Call it greatness by osmosis.

But Kerr never has coached a game in his life. Neither had Jackson when the Warriors hired him three years ago. Myers addressed this issue.

"The question that came up the most was how are you going to overcome your lack of coaching experience? Steve said, 'I'm going to work hard and surround myself with people that can help me get better, and each and every day I'm going to become a little bit better than the day before as a coach in this league.' For us, it was the right answer. It was confidence combined with humility, and we love that combination with Steve."

Translation: Jackson was confidence combined with arrogance. He was a coaching novice who thought he knew everything about basketball. He chose sub-par assistant coaches and he never improved. He had the same weakness after Year 3 that he had when he first started – no offensive system. Kerr knows what he doesn't know, and isn't afraid to ask for help from the very best assistants. He wants his No.1 guy to have head-coaching experience.

"These guys are fantastic," said Joe Lacob, referring to Myers and Kerr. "They're incredibly secure."

Jackson was not secure – that's why he had poor assistants. He was afraid an assistant would steal all of the credit.

Jackson also did not get along with upper management, including Myers. Jackson had an us-against-them attitude. "Us" being him and the players, and "them" being everyone else.


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