The ‘Say Hey Kid’ turned 90 Thursday and Steve Kerr wanted to wish him a happy birthday.
As he spoke to reporters before Thursday night’s matchup Oklahoma City, a special message displayed behind the Warriors coach commemorating Giants great Willie Mays.
Kerr wished Mays a happy birthday while also drawing some comparisons between the ex-superstar center fielder and Steph Curry, the Warriors’ current superstar guard.
“I want to wish Willie a happy 90th birthday on behalf of the Warriors,” Kerr said. “Just a Bay Area legend. When I think of Willie Mays, I think of Steph Curry. There was a palpable joy to Willie’s game playing for the Giants that affected so many people. It’s just so much like Steph. There’s just a joy and an energy about Steph and Willie that transcends sports. If you’re out there, Willie, happy birthday from all of us.”
Kerr was born in Mays’ final MVP season of 1965 and was 8 years old when Mays retired in 1973, so he didn’t get to see the Hall of Famer in his heyday. But he still remembers the style that Mays played with and how he left his mark on baseball.
Mays played 22 MLB seasons, roaming the Polo Grounds with the New York Giants from 1951-57 before the franchise moved west. Mays became a Bay Area icon during his time with the team from 1958 to 1972, when he was traded to the New York Mets.
Mays was a five-tool player before it became a baseball buzzword. He could do it all -- hit for average, power, steal bases, play ridiculous defense and he had a cannon of an arm.
Mays and Curry actually met during a 2015 Giants game. Curry might not have the longevity of Mays but he has had made his mark as the game's best shooter ever and the greatest Warrior of all time. And he’s done it with smiles and shimmies, much like Mays. OK, Mays probably didn’t shimmy much in his day, but you know what I mean.
Willie already has a statue and a plaza named after him with the Giants and it’s just a matter of time before Steph gets the same treatment from the Dubs.