Warriors coach Steve Kerr won't forget where he was 19 years ago Friday.
He had just completed his penultimate NBA season -- his only one with the Portland Trail Blazers -- and he joined the "NBA on TNT" crew in Atlanta as a guest analyst. That day, then-Philadelphia 76ers point guard Allen Iverson talked about practice.
Minutes later that same press conference, Iverson elaborated upon the pain he played through during the 2001-02 season. His best friend, Rashaan Langeford, was shot and killed seven months prior, and the man accused of killing Langeford's trial began just days prior to the press conference.
Kerr said it was "a fascinating moment" to cover because of Iverson's "forthright" honesty, and it epitomized what he admired about Iverson.
"For me, looking back, I love Iverson," Kerr said Friday on 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto & Kolsky." "I love his passion. I love his energy. I love just his will. I think, in many ways, he was a lot like Russell Westbrook, where maybe he's not everybody's cup of tea. Maybe you don't love certain aspects of his game, but you just have to admire his ferocious athleticism and desire that's apparent every single night. And that's what I loved about AI."
Kerr previously has included Iverson in conversations about some of the game's greatest players. The Warriors coach told Chris Haynes, then with ESPN, in 2018 that Iverson's crossover "changed the way players played."
"The guys you watch now and the whole game is based on hesitation and disruption of ballhandling," Kerr said at the time. "So Iverson literally changed the rules without ever saying anything. By just playing the way he did and doing the things he did, changed a whole generation if you watch every player that comes up."
Kerr played in the NBA for parts of three decades, and has been in the broadcast booth, a front office or on a bench since he retired. His perspective is as informed as any you'll find, making his respect for Iverson all the more worth listening to.