When it comes to post-Spurs success, not many have had it better than Steve Kerr. Yes, his basketball career was impressive in itself, as he won five NBA Championships that included two with the San Antonio Spurs. Now, he can also add four-time NBA champion as a head coach to his resume.
While the sharpshooting point guard didn't have a huge role in terms of playing time in San Antonio's first two titles, he undoubtedly had a massive impact on them claiming their second one in 2003. I've written frequently about his Game 6 heroics in the 2003 Western Conference Finals against the Dallas Mavericks -- one in which he led the Spurs back from the dead to advance.
But there was another performance that many have forgotten from the veteran in the NBA Finals, one that happened at a critical time in the series once again.
In a situation that was common all throughout that season, Steve Kerr had received extremely limited playing time in the NBA Finals, having not played in Games 1 and 3 and getting just one minute and nine seconds across Games 2 and 4. Still, as he did in the guts of the game against Dallas, Gregg Popovich went to his 37-year-old reserve guard in the final quarter of Game 5 to work his magic.
Steve Kerr helps prevent a fourth-quarter collapse
With the Spurs entering the final frame up 66-57, they had Tony Parker running the show to begin the quarter with the series locked at 2-2. By the nine-minute mark, Manu Ginobili had committed three personal fouls in the quarter as the New Jersey Nets cut the deficit to six.
Coach Popovich then had to turn to his unlikely hero once again for some answers. With less than four minutes to go in the game and the Spurs clinging to a four-point lead, Kerr again had a flurry of winning plays, beginning with a ridiculously quick strip of Kenyon Martin in the post.
Less than 30 seconds later, Kerr nailed a 3-pointer off of a Tim Duncan post-up to put San Antonio up by seven. Soon after, he buried another jumper inside the arc before sealing his sixth point with a free throw to ice the game.
It may not look like much on paper, but considering Kerr was on his last legs at the time, it's remarkable how clutch he came up for San Antonio multiple times in their 2003 title run. While I've honored his biggest game as a Spur several times, it was about time I gave his forgotten performance some love.
As Kerr just proved once again with Golden State, some people just have what it takes to be a champion, and Steve Kerr is one of those guys.