Suffering of Warriors coach Steve Kerr is heartbreaking

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Suffering of Warriors coach Steve Kerr is heartbreaking

Post by bobheckler on Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:25 am

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/04/23/thompson-suffering-of-warriors-coach-steve-kerr-is-heartbreaking/?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#link_time=1493000499



Thompson: Suffering of Warriors coach Steve Kerr is heartbreaking



By MARCUS THOMPSON II | mthomps2@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group



PUBLISHED: April 23, 2017 at 7:16 pm | UPDATED: April 24, 2017 at 2:54 am




Warriors coach Steve Kerr addresses illness with media






PORTLAND — All Steve Kerr has now are hope and patience.

The Warriors coach has tried just about everything else over the last year and a half, since a spinal-fluid leak during back surgery compromised his health. Medicine. Yoga. Meditation. Exercise. Grit-your-teeth toughness. Even marijuana.

Yet, he is back here, embedded in discomfort. His competitive spirit brought to submission by agony.


Kerr did his best to project normalcy when he resurfaced publicly Sunday to address the media. The 51-year-old coach walked casually to the ballroom of a swanky Portland hotel to personally deliver an update on his health. Flanked by general manager Bob Myers — the one originally scheduled to talk with reporters — Kerr was as friendly as usual, flashed some smiles even. He was alert and focused as he answered questions, looking like someone who could coach Monday night when the Warriors play the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 4 of their first-round playoff series..
But his words, honest and direct, revealed the struggles beneath his composed surface. His words peeled back the welcoming disposition and revealed the frustration and resignation he has endured.

“This past week, for whatever reason, things got worse and my symptoms got worse and I was not able to coach,” said Kerr, who has been suffering from the effects of Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Leak since back surgery in July 2015.

“I’m consulting with my doctors. I’m hoping for some improvement and if I can get some improvement I’ll get back on the sidelines. But I’m not going to do that unless I know I can help the team.”

Kerr said he will not coach Game 4. He is unlikely to coach a Game 5 or 6, should the series extend beyond expectations. He left the door open that he might not coach again this postseason.

What kind of pain did it take for Kerr to acknowledge that to himself? How bad must it be for him to concede that publicly?


This is the same coach whose pursuit of perfection leaves him breaking clipboards and screaming into his fists. The same coach who took pride in being on the bench for 147 consecutive games up until Game 3 because he had to fight through symptoms in each one.

It seems unfair that Kerr has to suffer through this. Except he’s the type to dismiss his circumstance and point to true, grave injustices. Kerr is a coach known by his heart for people. He has a worldly perspective shaped by privilege and tragedy, exposure and work ethic. His forays into political rhetoric are usually sparked by his empathy. Kerr is acutely aware of his charmed existence because he isn’t oblivious to the plight of others, and it produces a person who is caring and aware.

And that is why another setback, a valley in a struggle he has been enduring for nearly two years, is hard to watch. He was supposed to be closer to out of the woods, not back here.

Kerr is one of the good ones, says anyone who knows him personally. So watching him get broken down, seeing this ultra competitive coach say he can’t do it, has sent heartbreak throughout the organization.

“I’m not going to go into details on the symptoms,” Kerr said. “It’s just discomfort and pain and it’s no fun. And I can tell you if you’re listening out there, if you have a back problem, stay away from surgery. I can say that from the bottom of my heart.”

Nearly a year ago to the date, Myers was choking up at the 2015-16 NBA Coach of the Year press conference. Myers revealed that Kerr was still suffering behind the scenes, quietly, even while leading the Warriors to a record 73 regular season wins.

Kerr missed the first 43 games. But by the time he was named Coach of the Year, his ailments were no longer in the public consciousness. So Myers vouched for how Kerr gutted it out, made sure the degree of difficulty was known.

Sunday, if Myers had spoken, he might have choked up again. Instead, he stood behind the throng of media, his countenance saddened. Occasionally, he stared at the carpet while shaking his head as he listened to Kerr reveal that he was still suffering, quietly.

Kerr was supposed to be closer to recovery by now. Yet he is back here, his pain and disappointment creating a cloud of uncertainty over the franchise. All he can do is hope an answer is coming soon.




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