If you were fortunate enough to be watching the San Antonio Spurs' 2003 championship run, chances are high one game sticks out in your memory above the rest. Sure, there was Tim Duncan's quadruple-double that wasn't counted to clinch the NBA Finals, but nothing should be surprising about anything he ever accomplished. That year, a Finals run was made possible by a 37-year-old guard on his last legs.
A consummate professional always ready to help any way he can, Steve Kerr's final statement in the NBA was a huge one. Before jumping into some recently revealed details about the historic game, here's a background of what Kerr did on May 29th, 2003.
An all-but-defeated San Antonio Spurs team witnesses a miracle
After winning an NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999, Steve Kerr averaged just 10.6 minutes per game over the next two seasons. In the 2003 NBA Playoffs, what would be his last venture in the league, he had logged just 13 minutes in 17 games and had 12 DNP's. Still, when he entered the game down 63-48 with 3:44 remaining in the third quarter of a Game 6 against the Mavericks, he was ready.
The Spurs were seeking to close out Dallas on the road to return to the NBA Finals after a three-year absence, but a food-poisoned Tony Parker wasn't making things easy. After back-to-back threes by Stephen Jackson and Kerr near the end of the third, the pair continued their run in the fourth quarter, eventually turning it into an avalanche.
In the end, Kerr ended up stealing the show in Dallas -- nailing all four of his 3-point attempts, dishing out three assists, and grabbing two rebounds in his 13 minutes to send the Mavericks into an early vacation.
It was a performance that had Danny Ferry, David Robinson, and Spurs fans everywhere like me jumping up and down with joy. With the Mavericks dispatched, San Antonio went on to defeat Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets in six games in the NBA Finals.
More details emerge on Steve Kerr's historic night
"There's a reason I don't play a whole lot, and I think we all know why that is," Kerr said. "I'm not the greatest defender out there." The quote comes from Scott Howard-Cooper's newly-released biography of the five-time champion, Steve Kerr: A Life.
Detailing everything from his travel-heavy upbringing to tragedy to triumph, the biography is a must-read for basketball fans everywhere.
In the book, Howard-Cooper looks at Game 6 from multiple points of view. "We needed him so badly," said Spurs' Assistant Coach Mike Budenholzer, who is now coming off his first NBA title as a head coach.
In the locker room after the game, Kerr joked to Popovich that he'd need a contract extension before suiting up for the NBA Finals. Gregg, meanwhile, was effectively announcing Kerr's retirement despite the news not yet official. "A fitting ending to his career," said Coach Popovich of Kerr's amazing run.
The hero himself, as Howard-Cooper describes, had permanent goosebumps sticking out as he hit the airwaves with Don Harris on San Antonio's local news station, WOAI. "All I wanted was a moment," said Kerr to Harris just before going live.
In the end, Kerr's performance remains one of the greatest in San Antonio Spurs history and gave him a fifth and final championship as a player. You can read much more about Kerr's time in San Antonio, his infamous run-in with Michael Jordan in Chicago, and everything else about his journey by picking up Steve Kerr: A Life.