Service

by Tom Swift

The second time [Golden State Warriors coach Steve] Kerr and I talked happened to be roughly the day his symptoms — which include headaches and neck pain — began worsening. Yet, being Kerr, he still ran practice that morning and showed for our lunch interview.

As we walked through downtown Oakland, a disheveled man across the street hollered, Steeeeve! Kerr said what he would say later to the hotel security guard and a street vendor: “Hey, man. What’s going on?”

The man hurried over, holding a battered piece of artwork, and related a tale of temporary homelessness, a run-in with the police. Kerr listened, nodding and asking questions — “Did you paint that? It’s cool.” Then he said, “Good luck to you,” and handed the man $20 for art supplies.

Later, at lunch, Kerry said, “Think about the life that guy’s had, you know?” For Kerr, seeing the big picture is paramount. “[Some people] are just so tunnel vision all the time and ‘I’m going to succeed and kick ass in life,’ and they just trample over everyone. The people to me who are the most powerful leaders are the ones who have great talent in whatever their field is, great conviction in their ability to teach it and act it, but an awareness and a humility and compassion for others.

-Chris Ballard, “No Coach, No Problem,” Sports Illustrated, 5-29-2017