Warriors

Warriors

Warriors coach Steve Kerr knew what would trigger a league stoppage. He just didn't know who would serve as the catalyst, or when.

Prior to going on his weekly radio spot on KNBR on Wednesday evening, Kerr had a discussion with Golden State general manager Bob Myers, in which the possibilities of the situation were laid out.

"I had also just spoken to Bob Myers about a half-hour prior and he told me we were heading toward fanless games across the league, like ours was going to be, or a complete suspension," Kerr explained to The Athletic's Anthony Slater. "With the suspension, he said worst case -- if a player gets infected -- that’s when we’re for sure going into a suspension."

At the tail end of the radio interview, KNBR's Rod Brooks broke the news to Kerr. Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).

"So when I’m on the radio and Rod Brooks tells me what’s happening with Gobert, almost immediately it’s like, OK, this is it," Kerr continued. "And I think within minutes Adam Silver sent out the notice that the season was suspended."

At that point, everything changed. Sports leagues around the world followed the NBA's lead in pausing, suspending and/or canceling their seasons. By Friday, the entire sports world had come to a screeching halt. Had Gobert not been tested, there's no telling how long it would have continued on, failing to take a global pandemic as seriously as it needed to be.

 

"I think the way this whole thing has unfolded, it’s always human nature to be in denial of something that we can’t really understand," Kerr said. "As this stuff was unfolding over the last couple of weeks, it’s hard to fathom that the sports world can come to a complete stop.

"So your mind as a vulnerable human being is trying to rationalize everything -- like we could do this, we could do that, we could take this measure, this is how we could still play. And then all of a sudden when the reality hits home it’s: 'Oh my God. This is real.'"

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While the coronavirus has disrupted the NBA, Kerr knows that isn't exclusive to his league, or sports in general. Everyone's life has been impacted, and we're all coming to grips with the ways it has changed.

"You cross that threshold of needing to find ways to keep playing," Kerr explained. "That’s the human instinct in our world, you have to find ways to keep playing. Same thing for anyone in their own particular world. You have to find ways to keep working, to keep living your particular life. But then you cross that threshold and it’s holy s--t, we gotta figure this out. For the sports world, that was kind of the Gobert moment.

"That was the tipping point. It’s real. It’s happening. We have to move beyond our selfish human thoughts."