Chicago Bulls

How Michael Jordan helped end Warriors coach Steve Kerr's fear of failure

How Michael Jordan helped end Warriors coach Steve Kerr's fear of failure

Steve Kerr came to Chicago a journeyman and left a three-time NBA champion.

The current Warriors coach played for three teams during his first five seasons as a player, joining the Bulls during the first year of Michael Jordan's first retirement. Though Kerr had made two trips to the playoffs before arriving in Chicago, he said joining the Bulls after they had just won their first three of six titles under coach Phil Jackson made him grow up fast.

"If I hadn't gone to the Bulls, I would've just been another player who made the NBA -- which I would have been thrilled with," Kerr told Roger Bennett during "The Men In Blazers" special that aired Sunday on NBCSN. "I didn't even think that was possible. But going to the Bulls put the spotlight on me and our entire team, and then it put us in position to play games of importance.

"When you play games of importance, you find yourself tested like you've never been tested before. That's where I really learned lessons."

Kerr played in 78 playoff games over six seasons with the Bulls, coming off the bench for a team that rattled off three consecutive championships and set a then-NBA record with 72 regular-season wins in 1995-96. Jordan led the Bulls back to greatness after he returned from a baseball-filled retirement in 1995, and Kerr said he might have learned his most valuable lesson of all from Jordan.

No, it wasn't the time Jordan purportedly punched him in the face, but seeing how the NBA legend responded when things did not go his way.

"The thing that I took from Michael Jordan was that you go for it every time," Kerr told Bennett. "Every play. You never worry about failure, and I had worried about failure my whole life. I didn't want to be the guy at the end who missed the shot. And so up until my time with the Bulls, I was afraid of being that guy, and then I realized Michael took all these big shots -- he missed half of them.

"I would see him go for it and miss, and he'd go into the locker room and it was no big deal. He wasn't fazed. The next game, two nights later, he'd take the same shot, and that made an impact on me. I realized I had to get over my fear of failure, and just go for it and lay it out there."

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The lessons Kerr described are ones his Warriors learned firsthand during his first five seasons at the helm, when they appeared in five consecutive NBA Finals and won three rings. But in the absence of Steph Curry (broken left hand), Klay Thompson (left ACL rehab) and Draymond Green (torn ligament in left index finger) and the host of veterans who left this offseason, the D'Angelo Russell- and Eric Paschall-led Warriors have to learn them anew.

Given Kerr's aforementioned experience, though, they don't have to go it alone.

Dennis Rodman calls Kevin Durant 'selfish' for his Warriors comments

Dennis Rodman calls Kevin Durant 'selfish' for his Warriors comments

Kevin Durant and Dennis Rodman don't have too many things in common. 

Let's find three: They both are really good at basketball, each has won multiple NBA championships and each one joined legendary teams and helped them win more titles. That's about it. 

The last item is what's most important, though.

When Rodman was traded to the Bulls before the 1995-96 season, it came after Chicago lost to the Orlando Magic in the second round of the NBA playoffs. Durant signed with the Warriors in the summer of 2016 after Golden State blew a three-games-to-one lead to the Clevleland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. 

Rodman, for one, doesn't understand why Durant left the Warriors in free agency and was so worried about fitting in. 

"I think it's very selfish of KD, seriously," Rodman said Tuesday on ESPN's "The Jump." 

Rodman's comments come on the same day Durant spoke out about his three years with the Warriors. Despite winning two Finals MVP awards and going to the championship every season he played with Golden State, KD said he'll "never be one of those guys" while referring to the Dubs' core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. 

The Bulls already featured the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and other big-name players when Rodman came to Chicago. Despite being perhaps the wildest figure in NBA history, Rodman says he just wanted to win and didn't care about who received the most adoration. 

[RELATED: Why KD believes he never truly fit in with the Warriors]

"I just don't understand. I don't understand why he would even come out and say something like that," Rodman said. "I mean, embrace it. ... I enjoyed it. I didn't care who was the leader. I didn't care who was the leading force, who was this and this, I just wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to win. I wanted to impact the city, I wanted to make people happy." 

In most cases, people don't understand Rodman's antics. In this case, ironically enough, it's Durant who has the Hall of Famer questioning someone else's quotes. 

Dennis Rodman says Warriors' Draymond Green is NBA player most like him

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AP

Dennis Rodman says Warriors' Draymond Green is NBA player most like him

The Bulls dynasty was led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but Chicago would not have won the latter three NBA championships without the help and presence of Dennis Rodman.

Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson formed the foundation of Golden State's more recent dynasty, but much like Rodman, the Warriors wouldn't have sniffed back-to-back championships and five straight trips to the NBA Finals without the contributions of Draymond Green.

Rodman is the subject of the latest episode of ESPN's 30 for 30 series, which airs Tuesday night. The enigmatic Hall of Famer recently spoke with Bleacher Report's Sean Highkin, and another similarity between Rodman and Green was drawn.

When asked which current players remind him the most of himself, Rodman named only one.

"Players have to have the heart to go out there and do whatever they have to do to win. That's who I look at," Rodman responded. "You've got the Steph Currys, the LeBron James, players like that. But I want to see the player that says, 'OK, I want to be the player that stands out to do my job and earn the money for the role that they're paying me for.' That's what I'm looking for. I don't see that player out there. 

"Draymond Green is something sort of like that," Rodman continued. "But besides him, I don't see other players who have that passion, who have that love, that drive, they need basketball. No money, no fame. They have three hours of their life, 'I'm going out to do my job, to win for people. I'll get the gratification at the end of the day when I have a ring on my finger.' That's the kind of player I'm looking for."

Rodman isn't the only person looking for that kind of player, as all 30 teams in the league would love to have a player like Green on their roster. The sacrifices he has made for the betterment of the team have been essential in achieving the vast team and individual success he has experienced with Golden State.

Rodman was a five-time NBA champion, two-time Defensive Player of the Year and two-time All-Star. Green is a three-time champ, one-time Defensive Player of the Year and three-time All-Star.

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Due to the similarities Green shares with Rodman, don't rule out the possibility he matches and/or surpasses the Hall of Famer in all three categories.