Kerr celebrating Warriors’ title, sitting out ACC due to back injury
STATELINE — Steve Kerr is celebrating the Golden State Warriors’ world championship in Lake Tahoe — but not on the links at Edgewood. A back injury forced Kerr out of the American Century Championship earlier in the week, but he’s still taking in the atmosphere.
“I love playing in this event,” said the six-time participant Thursday. “But I’m excited to be here anyway and just be a part of it.”
Kerr said he initially hurt his back while standing on the sidelines during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the second of three straight wins that lifted the Warriors to the title over the Cleveland Cavaliers. About two weeks ago it took a turn for the worse, keeping him from playing in the tournament.
A balky back hasn’t kept Kerr from savoring the Warriors’ championship — the franchise’s first in 40 years. A five-time champion as a player, Kerr helped Golden State to the title in his first season as head coach.
“It was just a dream season,” Kerr said. “Everything went our way — everything just went perfectly.”
As the Warriors’ championship trophy makes its rounds, it has largely eluded the team’s head coach. Kerr said he hadn’t held it since the championship parade in the Bay Area on June 19.
“It seems like the Larry O’Brien Trophy has been treated like the Stanley Cup this summer,” Kerr said. “I see pictures of all of our guys all over the country taking the trophy and showing it to their hometown.”
Among the friends and colleagues that reached out to him following the NBA Finals, Kerr said the most poignant was a call from the commander-in-chief on the day following the Warriors’ Game 6 win. On the bus next to Steph Curry, Kerr chatted with President Obama.
“Our PR guy told me, ‘You should answer your phone — it’s going to be a blocked call, but you might want to answer it, somebody important is about to call you,’” Kerr said. “So I had a chance to speak with the president.”
Kerr is happy to let the Warriors soak in their NBA title for a little bit longer. Soon though, the focus will shift to defending their crown.
The problem is when you go all the way, the offseason goes quickly,” Kerr said. “And at some point here before too long our guys are going to have to forget about last year and move on to next year.
“But it’s still too early to make that transition. They should enjoy every bit of this — and they are.“
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