Steve Kerr Says Michael Jordan Returning to Bulls 'Completely Changed' My Life

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIIMay 29, 2020

CHICAGO - MAY 3:  Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls talks to Steve Kerr #25 of the Chicago Bulls during a game played on May 3, 1998 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1998 NBAE  (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Steve Kerr's opinion of Michael Jordan hasn't changed since the airing of ESPN's The Last Dance. It has, however, become a lot easier to understand.   

A teammate of Jordan's with the Chicago Bulls during their second three-peat, Kerr told the Sports Uncovered podcast why he has nothing but appreciation for the NBA icon (h/t NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole):

"It completely changed the rest of my life. Playing with Michael Jordan changed the entire course of my career. 

"I was able to play on these championship teams, made a name for myself, was able to get into TV, broadcasting, management, coaching and the reason people hired for me these jobs later on is because I played next to Michael Jordan. . .. I owe him everything."

Kerr joined the Bulls at the start of the 1993-94 season as the team was looking to win a fourth straight NBA title following Jordan's first retirement. 

The title defense failed, though Kerr posted a career-high 8.6 points per game and shot 49.7 percent from the field. 

When Jordan announced he was returning to basketball the following spring, it altered Kerr's life forever.

Chicago failed to win the title again in 1994-95 but won the next three with Kerr asserting himself as a go-to option from three-point range and proving he was unafraid of going toe-to-toe with Jordan when it mattered most: in practice. 

As The Last Dance covered, Kerr and Jordan once fought in the middle of a scrimmage. Jordan had grown tired of Kerr's defense and head coach Phil Jackson's propensity for calling iffy fouls when he was guarding his smaller teammate. As he continued to go after Kerr, the point guard refused to back down, leading to punches being thrown. 

Jordan was tossed from practice, but Kerr had proved his point. 

"We talked it out," Kerr said during The Last Dance (h/t NBC Sports' Ali Thanawalla). "And it was probably, in a weird way, the best thing that I ever did, was stand up for myself with him because he tested everybody he played with, and I stood up to him." 

Not only did Kerr go on to win three titles with the Bulls, but he also won his fourth consecutive championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 1998-99.

He finished his playing career with five rings and has won three more as the head coach of the Golden State Warriors

Jordan is only partially responsible for three of those titles. But without his influence, Kerr feels he might not have had the opportunities to win the rest.