Warriors

Michael Jordan-Steve Kerr fight shows NBA team conflicts have evolved

Warriors

Steve Kerr always has used adversity to help fuel his internal fire. Back in college, after some students at rival Arizona State taunted the assassination of Steve's father in Beirut, Kerr responded by hitting six 3-pointers and scoring 22 points as his Arizona Wildcats rolled to a win.

Kerr's infamous fight with Michael Jordan also helped the two develop some mutual respect, and forced Jordan to take a look in the mirror following his return to the Chicago Bulls from playing baseball. The Warriors coach sees interpersonal conflict as something that can help bring teams together.

Draymond Green and Kerr's infamous blowup at halftime of a 2016 game in Oklahoma City became a national headline as the altercation nearly became physical. But Kerr thanked Green for his intensity just a few months later while accepting his NBA Coach of the Year Award.

"Draymond -- don't ever change, if you're watching this," Kerr said in 2016. "Keep yelling at me, I'm gonna keep yelling at you. It's the best. He provides the edge that this team needs. Without Draymond, we'd be in trouble. We would be too quiet, and too nice."

 

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Today's generation, however, no longer solves things with fists. On-court beefs are carried over to social media in 2020, where Instagram Stories and Twitter timelines become the new battlegrounds for today's athletes. Players choose to take shots at press conferences instead of in between the baselines. 

When players do fight, teams become fractured. After Bobby Portis clocked Nikola Mirotic during a Bulls practice and broke bones in his face, Portis was swiftly traded and the team ended up going 27-55.

Kerr and Jordan's fight bringing the Bulls closer together seems to be the opposite of what happened following Green and Kevin Durant's famous shouting match on the court. While the Bulls went on to win 72 games and three consecutive championships with Kerr and Jordan working together, Green and Durant never fully seemed to patch things up.

The two could have tried to bring the team back together and dominated for an untold number of years to come, but instead, KD chose to take his talents east to Brooklyn.

[RELATED: Steve Kerr compares Kevin Durant's Warriors end to 'Last Dance' Bulls]

While I'm not here encouraging NBA players to throw hands every time they have a disagreement, sometimes a battle between teammates can actually bring a team closer together. Adversity can be a binding influence for a locker room instead of a divisive one.

In the case of Durant and Green, however, it doesn't appear that adversity had the same type of positive impact on the Warriors.

If only KD had felt the way Kerr does about Draymond's leadership.