The NBA has had a rough couple of weeks.
Dealing with the racist comments of LA Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling can’t be easy for new commissioner Adam Silver, but Thursday offers a couple of bright spots.
Two guys with Phoenix connections are now a first time NBA coach and GM and it’s a sure bet that the NBA is a better place because they are there.
The name you know for sure is Steve Kerr. He played at U of A in college, and despite that, turned out to be a really nice guy. (I kid. I am a Sun Devil. It’s required.)
Kerr wasn’t recruited out of high school but wound up playing at the U of A for another legend, Lute Olson, and was named to the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball team. He was drafted by the Suns but traded to the Cavaliers after a year.
He wound up winning five NBA Championships with two different teams, one of only two players to do such a thing.
Still, Kerr will tell you he’s never been the wanted man. He’s never been the in-demand guy. He said he wasn’t even asked to the prom.
Well, he has been now.
After weeks of speculation, Kerr finally chose to take a head coaching offer with the Golden State Warriors, passing on other offers, including one from the New York Knicks. Other teams had reportedly been interested too, which makes Kerr, as a first year coach, THE biggest “get” in the league.
This is a first-year coach with 20-plus years of NBA experience. Good get, Golden State.
The other “good guy” to get the job is David Griffin.
“Griff” started as a media intern at the Phoenix Suns in the ’90s, under one of the great owners (and as usually follows, great front offices) in NBA history. He paid his dues and worked his way up.
Way, way up.
David Griffin was named GM of the Cleveland Cavaliers this week. It’s truly an inspiring story, especially when you learn that Griff not only worked to put himself through college, but high school as well.
It goes to show what you can do when you have the brains and the drive to make it happen.
These two good guys are connected as well. While at the Suns, Kerr begged Griff NOT to take GM offers elsewhere. They would have been a huge promotion then, like his new job is now.
Griff stayed put. Kerr was grateful.
And now, two of the most intelligent, classy and gracious men in the NBA have the jobs of their dreams.
No one deserves it more.