Cuban’s plan: Tourney for NBA’s final 2 seeds

  • Joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009
  • Covers the Dallas Cowboys and Dallas Mavericks
  • Appears regularly on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has suggested a plan to the NBA league office that would include all 30 NBA teams playing five to seven regular-season games before a play-in tournament to determine the final two playoff seeds, he told ESPN on Tuesday.

Cuban considers it a must for all 30 teams to participate in the resumption of the NBA season, tentatively planned to take place at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, because of the financial impact of fulfilling local television contracts.

In Cuban’s proposal, the top 10 teams from both conferences would qualify for the postseason and be reseeded based on record. There would be two play-in matchups — either single games or a best-of-three series — pitting seeds 17 vs. 20 and 18 vs. 19. The winners would advance to play the 15th and 16th seeds for the final spots in the playoff bracket.

The playoffs would then proceed with best-of-seven series.

A point Cuban emphasizes is that all but two teams — the exceptions being the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors — would have a mathematical possibility of qualifying for the postseason under his proposal. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks, the teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, are four games behind the 10th-place Charlotte Hornets.

“It’s fair. It’s entertaining,” Cuban told ESPN.

Cuban’s Mavericks would stand to have the most to lose in a play-in scenario under previously discussed terms, which would include the teams that are seventh through 10th in the conference standings.

The Mavs are seventh in the Western Conference standings with a 40-27 record, eight games ahead of the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies. Dallas’ record is better than all but four teams in the East.

Cuban acknowledges it would be challenging to schedule all the games required to make his proposal work. However, he believes it is the plan that would best address the league’s financial issues and desire for competitive fairness, as well as allowing playoff teams to ramp up for the postseason, hopefully limiting injuries after a long layoff.

Cuban’s concern with the reported World Cup-style group stage idea, aside from not including all 30 teams, is that it “throws away the value of the whole season.”

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MJ in ’11: No Dream Team for me if Isiah picked

Old audio of Michael Jordan has surfaced in which he says he told NBA executive Rod Thorn, who was part of the USA Basketball selection committee, that he wouldn’t play on the Dream Team in 1992 if Detroit Pistons star point guard Isiah Thomas was also selected to the team.

“Rod Thorn called me, and I said, ‘Rod, I won’t play if Isiah Thomas is on the team,'” Jordan is heard telling reporter Jack McCallum in a 2011 interview, which was aired on his podcast “The Dream Team Tapes.”

“[Thorn] assured me,” Jordan is heard saying in the old interview. “He said, ‘You know what? Chuck doesn’t want Isiah. So, Isiah is not going to be part of the team.'”

“The Last Dance,” ESPN’s documentary on Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls, has renewed debate about Thomas’ absence from the Dream Team. After an episode highlighted Thomas’ Pistons leaving the court rather than shaking hands with the victorious Bulls after the 1991 Eastern Conference finals, Thomas lamented the possibility that the action cost him a spot on the 1992 U.S. Olympic team — the first to feature NBA players, producing the greatest collection of star talent basketball has ever seen.

In “The Last Dance,” Jordan said he didn’t have anything to do with Thomas not making the Dream Team.

“Before the ’92 Olympics, Rod Thorn calls me and says, ‘We would love for you to be on the Dream Team,'” Jordan said in the documentary. “I say, ‘Who’s all playing?’ He says, ‘What does that mean?’ I say, ‘Who’s all playing?’ He says, ‘Well, the guy you’re talking about or you’re thinking about, he’s not going to be playing.’

“I respect Isiah Thomas’ talent. To me, the best point guard of all time is Magic Johnson and right behind him is Isiah Thomas. No matter how much I hate him, I respect his game. Now, it was insinuated that I was asking about him, but I never threw his name in there.”

Thorn and fellow NBA executives Jack McCloskey and Russ Granik were part of the selection committee formed by USA Basketball that was headed by the late C.M. Newton, the then-Kentucky athletic director who also served as an assistant under Dream Team coach Chuck Daly. Mike Krzyzewski and P.J. Carlesimo also served on the committee and were Daly’s assistants on the team.

Thorn, who was the Bulls’ general manager when the team selected Jordan in the 1984 draft, recently told ESPN’s Golic & Wingo that Thomas’ name never came up in a phone call concerning the Dream Team.

“There was never anything in my conversation with [Jordan] that had to do with Isiah Thomas, period,” Thorn told Golic & Wingo. “He said, ‘I’ll do it.’ … Isiah’s name never came up during that conversation. He never backtracked and said he didn’t want to do it from that time on, to those of us in the NBA office.”

According to McCallum’s account of the selection process in his book “Dream Team,” Thomas had plenty of support from the USA Basketball committee. Ultimately, Jordan’s opposition to having Thomas on the team — as well as the unwillingness of any other member of the Dream Team to advocate for him — doomed Thomas’ chances, McCallum wrote in his book.

The decision might have been easier since a year had passed since the Pistons had won their second NBA championship, and Thomas had been limited to 48 games by a wrist injury and averaged a career-low 16.2 points per game during the 1990-91 season.

“I don’t know what went into that process,” Thomas said in the Jordan documentary. “I met the criteria to be selected, but I wasn’t.”

ESPN’s Kevin Pelton contributed to this report.

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Audio captures Michael Jordan saying he wouldn’t play if Isiah Thomas was on the Dream Team

One of the more interesting talking points to emerge from “The Last Dance” documentary was whether Michael Jordan was the reason why Isiah Thomas didn’t make it on the 1992 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team.

Jordan denied it in the documentary, but recent audio seems to suggest otherwise. The audio, pulled from Jack McCallum’s podcast “The Dream Team Tapes,” captures a conversation Jordan had with the veteran reporter. McCallum says the audio came from a conversation he had with Jordan when he was writing his Dream Team book in 2011. 

“Rod Thorn called me,” Jordan says in the audio. “I said, ‘Rod, I won’t play if Isiah Thomas is on the team.’ He assured me. He said, ‘You know what? Chuck doesn’t want Isiah. So, Isiah is not going to be part of the team.'”



(Getty Images)

Michael Jordan 1992 Olympics
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Rod Thorn is the former Olympic Committee chairman and played a major role in the selection process for the Dream Team. He was also the Bulls GM when the team drafted Jordan in 1984. Jordan confirmed that he had a phone call with Thorn in “The Last Dance” but didn’t go so far in the documentary as to say he called Thomas out by name.

“Before the ’92 Olympics, Rod Thorn calls me and says, ‘We would love for you to be on the Dream Team.’ I say, ‘Who’s all playing?’ He says, ‘What does that mean?’ I say, ‘Who’s all playing?’ He says, ‘Well, the guy you’re talking about or you’re thinking about, he’s not going to be playing,'” Jordan says in the documentary. “I respect Isiah Thomas’ talent. To me, the best point guard of all time is Magic Johnson and right behind him is Isiah Thomas. No matter how much I hate him, I respect his game. Now, it was insinuated that I was asking about him, but I never threw his name in there.”

Jordan would add his parting statement, “If you want to attribute it to me, go ahead, and be my guest. But it wasn’t me.”

Thorn, in an interview with “Golic and Wingo,” also denied Thomas’ name coming up in the phone call.

“There was never anything in my conversation with [Jordan] that had to do with Isiah Thomas, period,” Thorn said. “He said, ‘I’ll do it.’ … Isiah’s name never came up during that conversation. He never backtracked and said he didn’t want to do it from that time on, to those of us in the NBA office.”

As for Thomas, he simply added in the documentary, “I don’t know what went into that process. I met the criteria to be selected, but I wasn’t.”

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Ex-NBA star Kendrick Perkins slams Michael Jordan for 'The Last Dance'

‘He broke every player code imaginable… it made everybody else look like a villain’: Former NBA star Kendrick Perkins slams Michael Jordan for revealing TOO MUCH about his team-mates in ‘The Last Dance’

  • Netflix hit ‘The Last Dance’ included revelations about former Chicago Bulls stars
  • Player-turned-analyst Kendrick Perkins has accused Michael Jordan of betrayal
  • Perkins believes the NBA legend ‘tore down’ his team-mates and praised himself
  • NBA reporter Jackie MacMullan has also said that ex-pros feel ‘duped’ by Jordan

Michael Jordan’s shocking admissions about the drugs and debauchery surrounding the Chicago Bulls during his early days in the NBA ‘broke every code imaginable’ and hurt his former team-mates who helped the team to achieve extraordinary success, former NBA star Kendrick Perkins has claimed.

Netflix series ‘The Last Dance’, following Jordan’s rise to becoming one of the greatest basketball players of all time, was a huge hit with fans who were enthralled by some of the scandalous stories recounted by Jordan from his time with the Bulls.

Now Perkins, who won the NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008 and has become a pundit since retiring in 2018, has accused Jordan of damaging the reputations of the likes of Scottie Pippen – one of the fellow stars behind the Bulls’ title hat-tricks at the start and end of the 1990s. 

Michael Jordan (left) spoke about the likes of Scottie Pippen (right) in series ‘The Last Dance’

Former NBA star Kendrick Perkins has claimed that Jordan (right) has caused Pippen (left) pain

‘When you look at the whole documentary, it made Michael Jordan look like a superhero and everybody else look like a villain,’ Perkins told ESPN. ‘Michael Jordan broke every player code imaginable. 

‘Some of the things he was saying with Scott Burrell, saying that he was in the club every night. Talking about what Horace Grant said about guys doing drugs, everyone except for [Jordan].

‘[It] hurt Scottie Pippen. People today are looking at Scottie Pippen like a selfish individual. 

‘”The Last Dance” was to praise Mike, which it should have been. But you didn’t have to tear down other people to praise your greatness, because your greatness alone speaks volumes for itself.’  

Perkins (left) spent almost 15 years as an NBA center and won the title with the Boston Celtics

The first episode of the documentary made an explosive start when Jordan referenced the wild scenes he witnessed in a team hotel as a rookie, alluding to the ‘Traveling Cocaine Circus’ that was later described in a book about his part in transforming the Bulls’ fortunes.

‘Everybody’s truths are different,’ said NBA reporter Jackie MacMullan, describing the reaction from some of Jordan’s former teammates. ‘We could put five NBA players in a room and ask them to recount something that happened 20 years ago, and we’d get five different stories.

Perkins also played for Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans and is now a pundit

‘When they heard about “The Last Dance” they were thinking, ‘Oh, it’s about our team.’

‘Well, no, it’s about one of the more compelling athletes who ever lived – it’s mostly about Michael. So I think some of them felt duped right from the get-go.’  




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Eddie Sutton dies at 84; longtime coach received Hall of Fame honor in 2020

Eddie Sutton, who took two different schools to the Final Four during a Hall of Fame coaching career that spanned five decades, has died. He was 84.

Sutton’s family said in a statement early Sunday that he died of natural causes at his home in South Tulsa, Okla., surrounded by loved ones. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Saturday night that Sutton had been in hospice care.

Sutton was voted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last April, an honor many of his supporters believed should have been awarded him years earlier. He recorded 806 wins, 11th all time in NCAA Division I, over 37 seasons, and took four schools to the NCAA Tournament (Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State). He also coached San Francisco for half a season in 2007-08.

He led Arkansas (1978) and Oklahoma State (1995, 2004) to the Final Four, losing in the national semifinals each time.

His career also had signifcant personal low points.

He left Kentucky under pressure in 1989 amid an NCAA investigation that culminated in harsh sanctions against the program. Sutton insisted he was innocent. The Democrat-Gazette, in its story, recalled his struggles with alcohol at the time and later in life. The Associated Press noted Sutton’s 2006 arrest on charges of aggravated DUI and traffic offenses, to which he pleaded no contest. 

Sutton was in charge of Oklahoma State’s program in 2001 when two players, six staffers and two pilots were killed in a plane crash after a game at Colorado.

Some early reactions by high-profile basketball people to Sutton’s death:

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Craig Ehlo talks about Michael Jordan’s famous shot against Cavaliers

Looking back at “The Shot,” Michael Jordan’s game-winning jumper in the clinching game of the Eastern Conference opening round playoff series, Craig Ehlo admits he has regret.

If he could do it over again, the former Cavaliers’ guard said he would have defended Jordan differently, and been prepared to not have help.

“That’s probably where I made my biggest mistake,” Ehlo said on The Charity Stripe podcast.

The Cavaliers knew the Bulls were going to go to Jordan at the top of the key. So they had forward Larry Nance up top and Ehlo closer to the 3-point line. The plan was for Nance to force Jordan towards mid-court away from the basket. But Jordan juked Nance, darting towards half-court before retreating closer to the hoop. Nance bit on the fake.

“I was kind of standing lazily, not in a great defensive position, because I thought I had somebody in front of him that was going to deny him the basketball,” Ehlo said.

30 years ago today, Michael Jordan hit “The Shot” on Craig Ehlo,

▪️ No. 3 seed Cavs eliminated by No. 6 Bulls in Game 5 of 1st round
▪️ Cavs swept regular season series, 6-0
▪️ First playoff game-winner of the many in Jordan’s career

(Via @NBAHistory)pic.twitter.com/8uzeXo49lO

Instead, Jordan caught the ball towards the right wing along the 3-point line, quickly reversed and took two dribbles until he hung the air at the free-throw line for the game-winner.

“As soon as I got to the wing, he was already dribbling back to the free-throw line,” Ehlo said. “So I wasn’t defensive sliding with him and so I was kind of running to catch up sideline to sideline.

“I get my hand up, and I think that’s why everyone thinks it was great defence. I did contest it. … as soon as I went by, he let go and had a clean look at it, and the rest is history.”

The Bulls would reach the conference finals that year and go on to win six titles in eight years between 1991 and 1998. “The Shot” still remains one of the most memorable highlights of Jordan’s immortal career.

“The fist pump is always going to be iconic,” Ehlo said. “I guess the shot was iconic, because it kind of propelled Chicago to that next level for them. If he misses that shot, I think the team I had in Cleveland could’ve easily won three championships like Chicago did. But it definitely gave them the boost they needed to get by and go to that next level.”

Former Cavaliers teammate Ron Harper has said he asked coach Lenny Wilkens to guard Jordan on that play, but the assignment was given to Ehlo.

This article originally appeared on the NY Post and was reproduced with permission.

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Jerry Sloan dies at 78; NBA players react to death of Jazz legend

Former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has died of complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, the team announced Friday morning. He was 78.

“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss,” the team said in a statement. “We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.”

The Hall of Famer coached for 26 years in the NBA, spending 23 of those seasons in Utah. He guided the Jazz to 15 consecutive playoff appearances from 1988 to 2003, and he ranks fourth on the career wins list behind Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens and Gregg Popovich. Sloan and Popovich are the only coaches in league history to win at least 1,000 games with one team.

Sloan’s style and intensity matched up perfectly with John Stockton and Karl Malone, allowing the Jazz to consistently churn out victories and remain contenders in the rugged Western Conference. Utah advanced to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, losing to Michael Jordan and the Bulls in both series.

“Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization,” the team said. “He will be greatly missed. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him.”

Before becoming a coach, Sloan had a terrific playing career from 1965 to 1976. As a member of the Bulls, he made two All-Star teams and was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team four times.

“Jerry Sloan was ‘The Original Bull’ whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago,” Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement on Sloan’s passing. “Jerry was the face of the Bulls organization from its inception through the mid-1970s, and very appropriately, his uniform No. 4 was the first jersey retired by the team.

“A great player and a Hall-of-Fame NBA coach, most importantly, Jerry was a great person. Our sympathies go out to the Sloan family and all his many fans.”

Players around the league reacted to Sloan’s death, including former Jazz star Deron Williams and current Utah guards Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley.

Very sad to hear about the passing of Coach Sloan this am. I’m praying for Tammy and their family during this time. 🙏🏽 I know things didn’t end well between us in Utah, however I’m glad that i got the chance to sit down with him before it was too late. Definitely something that would have haunted me for the rest of my life. Blessed that i got to play for him and learn so much from him during my 5 1/2 years in Utah. You knew he always had your back when you stepped out on that court. #ripcoachsloan #legend

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The inspirational – and tragic – story of Steve Kerr

His father was murdered by jihadi gunmen and after he stood up to Michael Jordan (and got a punch in the face), he changed basketball history…The incredible story of Steve Kerr, an unlikely star of The Last Dance on Netflix

  • Steve Kerr’s story was a brilliant tale to emerge from Netflix’s ‘The Last Dance’
  • Not highly recruited as a youngster, he was ‘an overachiever’ who excelled 
  • He hit big shots, such as the 1997 Finals winner, and was the ultimate role player 
  • Since retiring, he has revolutionised the game as Golden State Warriors coach
  • Comparisons to Pep Guardiola are apt given their impact on respective sports 

For many, Netflix’s ‘The Last Dance’ series highlighted the greatness of Michael Jordan, showed his win-at-all costs mentality and his flawless NBA Finals record of six wins from six visits.  

But for Steve Kerr, he got a front row seat for the action as a team-mate during the Chicago Bulls’ second three-peat from 1996 to 1998. He saw one of sport’s great dynasties unfold in front of his very eyes – and used that to build one of his own as a coach. 

And yet while the focus was on Jordan for much of the 10-part series, a look at his gambling, the murder of his father James and stand-out moments like the famous ‘Flu Game’ in Utah, it was Kerr’s own story – both tragic and inspiring – that perhaps stood out most to those unfamiliar with the Bulls’ dynasty.  

Steve Kerr (left) emerged as the people’s champion from Michael Jordan’s ‘Last Dance’ series

The defining play of Kerr’s Chicago Bulls career came with a late shot to win the 1997 Finals

It was no coincidence that social media was awash with messages of Kerr jerseys from that three-peat era shooting up in demand on Monday and people anointing the 54-year-old as their new favourite player after watching the series finale.  

Kerr was not a Hall of Fame player, he was smaller than a lot of his team-mates and opponents and was never the first or second best player on a team in his 15 years in the NBA.

And yet coming away from ‘The Last Dance’, Kerr stood out. He was personable, relatable and had managed to carve out a niche for himself as the ultimate role player for Jordan in Chicago. He accepted his status, learned how to win with just ‘five or six shots’ per game and became what he himself termed an ‘overachiever’. 

That assessment may be a tad harsh on himself but further highlighted the selflessness that Kerr has carried forward into his coaching.

Kerr remains the only NBA player in the last 50 years to lift the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy in four straight seasons, following up his three-peat with the Bulls under Phil Jackson with the 1999 title under Gregg Popovich at the San Antonio Spurs.  

In the game today, Kerr is respected as a fine player in his day but all the documentary did was remind the masses – in the US alone episodes generated viewing figures of almost 13 million per week – of his immense value. 

Nothing has come easy for Kerr, on or off the court. His father Malcolm was brutally murdered in Lebanon, while serving as the president of the American University of Beirut when Kerr was just 19.  

Kerr (right) was not highly recruited as a teenager and described himself as an ‘overachiever’

STEVE KERR CAREER 

PLAYER

1988-89 – Phoenix Suns

1989-92 – Cleveland Cavaliers

1992-93 – Orlando Magic

1993-98 – Chicago Bulls

1998-2001 – San Antonio Spurs

2001-02 – Portland Trail Blazers

2002-03 – San Antonio Spurs 

COACH 

2014-PRESENT – Golden State Warriors

HONOURS 

8 x NBA champion (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2015, 2017, 2018) 

1997 NBA 3-point champion 

2016 NBA coach of the year 

Kerr was born in Beirut and spent much of his childhood there. It was particularly dangerous for American citizens at the time amid ongoing conflict in the Middle East, and episode nine of ‘The Last Dance’ saw Kerr emotionally reflect on how he discovered the tragic news that two gunmen, who were members of the Shia Lebanese militia called Islamic Jihad but posing as students, shot his dad in the head on January 18, 1984. 

It is not something he opens up on often, making his candidness and openness in the Netflix series about receiving a call in the middle of the night while at college in Arizona particularly striking.  

He ‘threw himself into basketball’ as he grieved, his mother said in episode nine,  and he became fiercely determined to make it in the NBA despite the limited hype around him. 

His dad was a big basketball fan at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) and so Kerr’s motivation was set. Despite the prospect of playing alongside one of the greatest to ever play the game wholly remote in 1984, when barely anyone tried to recruit him, Kerr was not giving up. 

That fighting spirit translated well to viewers and while Kerr appeared mild-mannered, it was a famous bust-up with Jordan that ultimately secured respect from his team-mate. 

One particular practice work-out became heated as Jordan goaded Kerr and eventually he snapped back, punching him in the chest, much to the surprise of Jordan. 

Jordan responded by punching him in the face, something he later apologised for, but for Kerr, it was one of the best things to happen to his career. From then on he had respect and he was trusted to go into battle. 


Kerr mastered the art of being a role player and is the only player in the NBA in the last 50 years to win four consecutive championships – three with the Chicago Bulls and one win San Antonio

Jordan was demanding of team-mates but Kerr stood up to him, got punched in a practice session and from that point on he had earned his stripes and got Jordan’s respect

That trust was never better encapsulated than Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals against Karl Malone and the Utah Jazz. 

Jackson called a time-out with the score tied at 86-86 and with 28 seconds left on the clock, a play was to be drawn up to try and clinch the game and avoid a Game 7. 

In those game-closing moments it was typically Jordan who took the limelight. He was the best player and could do things others would never be able to pull off. And yet, he knew the Jazz were going to double-team him, meaning the play had to be for someone else. 

Scottie Pippen was the team’s second best player but while Jordan was sat down for the time-out, he turned to Kerr and urged him to ‘be ready, this is your moment’. It was Kerr’s time to win it all. 

‘I’ll be ready,’ Kerr shot back like a hyperactive child. ‘I’ll be ready.’

What happened next became one of the defining plays of Kerr’s entire career. 

Pippen stood tall from the inbound to find Jordan outside the arc and, as expected, he was met with a double-team from Bryon Russell and John Stockton, who was supposed to be on Kerr. 

At San Antonio, Kerr (right) worked under legendary coach Gregg Popovich and along with working under Phil Jackson in Chicago, Kerr had honed his ability to be an elite NBA coach

He took over the Golden State Warriors in 2014 and transformed stars like Stephen Curry (left)

Jordan broke between the double-team before kicking it out to Kerr who was wide open from 17-feet away. He caught, rising in his shooting motion, and sank the shot with ease. Jordan had told Kerr that it was his moment and he was right. A late dunk from Toni Kukoc sealed the win but it was Kerr’s jumper that sealed the Bulls’ fifth championship. He was the hero. 

That moment of trust has always stayed with Kerr, and Jordan’s willingness to defer in big moments to team-mates, and he used it as Golden State Warriors’ coach in a conversation with star man Kevin Durant.

Durant is one of the best players in the NBA right now and yet during a time-out Kerr cited Jordan and wanted his main man to do similar in ‘trusting’ the role guys, the Warriors’ own versions of Kerr. 

‘When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a play-off game,’ Kerr began to Durant. ‘He just kept trying to score and he was scoring but we weren’t getting anything going. Phil Jackson said “who’s open?”. John Paxson was. 

‘I want you to trust your team-mates early. What you’re doing is getting to the rim then trying to kick out. I want you to trust the first guy.’  

But it is not just Jordan anecdotes and pep talks with star players that have made Kerr an all-time top five NBA coach. What he has done can be compared to Pep Guardiola in football in revolutionising his sport. 

In one famous exchange with Kevin Durant, Kerr uses a Jordan analogy to get the Warriors forward to trust his team-mates, just like Jordan had done with Kerr in Utah back in 1997

Durant helped form part of a dynasty with the Warriors and Kerr is considered a top-five coach

Guardiola’s tiki-taka style turned Barcelona into one of football’s greatest ever teams from 2008-12 and he has since transformed Manchester City into one of the most attractive sides in the world.  

On the other hand, Kerr, with his work on three-point emphasis, building a dynasty of young stars from inherited draft picks and taking away the reliance of a dominant center, will go down as a revolutionary for those that follow him. 

In Jackson and Popovich, Kerr got to work under two others that rank in the top five of all-time and, along with his self-improvement as a player, his grief is something he has been able to channel into coaching thanks to his former coaches’ influence. 

‘I really realised from [Popovich] and [Jackson] that I could use my experience as a kid and growing up to my advantage as a coach,’ Kerr told the New York Times in 2016. 

‘And connect with players and try to keep that healthy perspective. Keep it fun, and don’t take it too seriously.’

As Kerr, 54, stands before basketball fans now, here is a man with eight championship rings. He is far more than the role player loved by Bulls fans in the Jordan era.  

There are cross-sport similarities between Kerr and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola

Kerr has revolutionised the NBA like Guardiola has football and deserves immense credit

Kerr turned Steph Curry into the first ever unanimous NBA MVP (most valuable player) in 2016. He formed the ‘splash brothers’ with Curry and Klay Thompson and they have put themselves into the position of being the greatest shooting back-court in the history of basketball.  

But while there have been stars such as Curry, Thompson, Durant and Draymond Green, he has also made players such as 2015 draft pick Kevon Looney a key role piece – nobody is better than Kerr for mastering such a role.   

He took charge in 2014, got his feet under the table having been a general manager prior with the Phoenix Suns, and within a year he was back lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy. 

In fact, the success was unrelenting, under Kerr the Warriors have had five straight trips to the NBA Finals, winning three and losing one to LeBron James’ Cavaliers in 2016 as well as last year, when injury struck down Thompson and Durant against the Toronto Raptors. 

Kerr is an intellect who has carried on his dad’s legacy in speaking out for activists on political issues. But much of his story comes down to ‘being ready’. He was ready that night in Utah in 1997, was ready in his debut season with the Spurs in 1999 and was ready when he took over the Warriors in 2014. 

He may have spoken highly about Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp in the past but if Kerr steps into the light with anyone from football, being the Guardiola of the NBA fits best.  

The Warriors won their first championships since 1975 once Kerr took over as head coach




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Charles Barkley tells wild story of his 1991 arrest: ‘I started taking off all of my clothes’

Back in December 1991, Charles Barkley, then a star forward for the 76ers, went out with Bucks players Frank Brickowski and Larry Krystkowiak after a Saturday game in Milwaukee. What happened that evening nearly changed the trajectory of Barkley’s career.

During an appearance on “The Lowe Post” podcast with ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Barkley revisited that snowy night and explained what led to him being arrested and charged with battery and disorderly conduct. Barkley told Lowe he had left a bar at closing time and was planning to head over to Brickowski’s house for a drink. Brickowski told Barkley to ride back with his wife because she had parked a good distance from the bar, and that’s when it all went sideways.

“All of a sudden I could hear running,” Barkley said. “Then it started getting closer to me, and I could hear them saying, ‘F— Charles Barkley, F— Charles Barkley.’ So I said, ‘Hey, girl, we need to speed this up.’ I could hear people running toward me, but it was really cold. I didn’t want to stop and turn around. We start walking faster. She had to park a long way away, not a lot of parking there. We get about two blocks away, and these three guys are up on me. I’m like, ‘Yo, man. What’s y’all problem?’ They’re like, ‘We don’t f—ing like you. We don’t like you, and we’re gonna kick your ass.’ I said, ‘Why y’all gonna kick my ass? I don’t even know you dudes.’ They’re like, ‘No, we don’t like you.’

“And old girl is screaming, and I’m screaming, ‘Hey, shut up. I’m trying to think over here.’ They were three big weightlifters, and they were right in my grill. Two at my back, one’s right in my grill. I said, ‘Yo, man, I don’t want no trouble.’ The dude says, ‘I’m gonna kick your ass.’ So I’m starting to think, ‘OK, what are you gonna do? Because right now you’re probably gonna get your ass kicked.'”

Barkley didn’t have much time to formulate a plan, so he went with the first thing that came to mind: “Make them think you’re crazy.”

“So I started taking off all of my clothes. I take off my jacket, had a big coat on. I take off my shirt. I take off my shoes and socks,” Barkley said. “I think it was right around the time we were doing ‘Karate Kid,’ so I was like, wax on, wax off. I’m doing this, and all of a sudden, these two dudes back up. But this one dude is still in my grill. I’m thinking, ‘Oh, it’s working on two of them, but it’s not working on another one.’ Then I said I might as well make my move, so I hit this one dude as hard as I can hit a dude.

“He’s down, and he’s like, ‘You f—ing hit me!’ And I said, ‘You damn right, and there’s plenty more where that came from.’ It would have been an interesting proposition, me trying to fight these three big guys if they all got on me at the same time. But when I hit old boy, he went down, and that was it.”

According to the Associated Press’ reporting at the time, Barkley broke the nose of the 25-year-old man, who was treated and released at a Milwaukee hospital. Rather than driving to Brickowski’s house, Barkley returned to his hotel room, where he was arrested shortly before 7 a.m., per the AP.

In June 1992, Barkley was acquitted on both charges, then traded from the 76ers to the Suns only hours later. Aside from the obvious legal consequences, if Barkley had not been acquitted, the Suns’ front office may have decided it was too risky to acquire him.

Barkley enjoyed four All-Star seasons in Phoenix before finishing his career in Houston.

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Horace Grant fumes at Michael Jordan’s ‘lie’ in ‘The Last Dance’ about him being a ‘snitch’

Calling out what he felt were several cinematic liberties taken in "The Last Dance," former Chicago Bulls power forward Horace Grant saved his strongest criticism for the documentary's central figure, Michael Jordan.

Appearing on ESPN 1000 radio in Chicago, Grant called Jordan's allegation that he was the one who leaked locker room details to journalist Sam Smith "a downright, outright, completely lie."

Grant acknowledged a friendship with Smith, who wrote the best-selling book, "The Jordan Rules." However, he denied being one of Smith's inside sources. 

"I would never put anything personal out there," Grant said. "My point is, he said that I was the snitch, but yet and still after 35 years he brings up his rookie year going into one of his teammate's rooms and seeing coke, and weed and women. 

"My point is: Why the hell did he want to bring that up? What's that got to do with anything? I mean, if you want to call somebody a snitch, that's a damn snitch right there."

Grant was a major part of the Bulls teams that won three consecutive NBA titles from 1991-1993 before he left Chicago as a free agent in 1994 to sign with the Orlando Magic. 

Michael Jordan drives on former Chicago Bulls teammate Horace Grant during a 1995 game against the Orlando Magic. (Photo: Anne Ryan, USA TODAY Sports)

He wasn't the only former teammate to have issues with how they were portrayed in "The Last Dance." For example, Grant says Jordan didn't always get away with bullying and harassing other team members. 

"It wasn't real — because a lot of things [Jordan] said to some of his teammates, that his teammates went back at him. But all of that was kind of edited out of the documentary, if you want to call it a documentary," Grant said.

He said Jordan's involvement in the production of the 10-part series calls the objectivity of director Jason Hehir into question. 

"When that so-called documentary is about one person, basically, and he has the last word on what's going to be put out there … it's not a documentary," Grant said.

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