Warriors

Why Warriors' Steve Kerr enjoyed playing pickup basketball over NBA

Why Warriors' Steve Kerr enjoyed playing pickup basketball over NBA

Warriors coach Steve Kerr played in the NBA for 15 seasons from 1988 to 2003.

He averaged 6.0 points and 1.8 assists in 17.8 minutes per game while shooting 45.4 percent from 3-point range.

The No. 50 overall pick in the 1988 NBA Draft won five championships -- three with the Chicago Bulls and two with the San Antonio Spurs.

So what was more fun -- playing in the league or casually playing with friends after retirement?

"I actually enjoyed the pickup ball more than the NBA because I was finally the most talented player on the floor," Kerr told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. "I could actually cross somebody up and get to the rim.

"I’d be like, ‘What just happened?’"

He obviously is kidding. Right? Right?!

Unfortunately, the 54-year-old doesn't play pickup anymore. As he explained to Johnson:

"I retired when I was 37. I picked up tennis and I played a lot, like three or four days a week. And I played pickup basketball every Sunday. And I played basketball all the way until I was about 45. And I was grinding. I was going hard on the tennis court and in pickup. When I turned 43, literally in the same month, each knee kind of ran out of cartilage. And I could feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s no cushion in there anymore.’ I had a scope done by our team doctor in Phoenix. I was GM at the time. I remember thinking, ‘All right, I’ll get a scope. And I’ll be fine.’ I wake up and he said, ‘The scope went well. We cleaned it up. But you gotta stop playing basketball.’ And I said, ‘What?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, you gotta stop playing basketball and tennis. You just don’t have any more cartilage.’ I was devastated. My whole life, I played. There was so much wear and tear from my playing days and my post-playing days. Seven years of flying around the tennis court, my body just wore out.

You miss the feeling of the freedom and the flow and the energy. You start making some shots and you’re running and you get this incredible workout and at the end of the games, you’re just exhausted but in an incredibly satisfying way. And then you go home and throw the ice bags on the knee and watch football or something. I miss that. Now it’s all non-impact stuff — yoga, elliptical. I have to avoid any of the pounding."

Many of us out there (who didn't have long NBA careers) feel your pain, coach.

[RELATED: Why a 'dap' is much more than a handshake in today's NBA]

Try to enjoy that elliptical as much as possible. Perhaps you can mix it up with some swimming?

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

Why Steph Curry's NBA parallel might be ex-Warriors exec Jerry West

Why Steph Curry's NBA parallel might be ex-Warriors exec Jerry West

Steph Curry forever has altered the game of basketball during his 11 seasons with the Warriors.

Shattering record after record, Curry became the face of the NBA’s evolution toward emphasizing the 3-pointer.

His unique qualities make him a difficult player to compare, but one that makes some sense is Hall of Famer Jerry West.

“With impact and accolades in the mix,” Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley writes. “Then “The Logo” Jerry West looks like the answer. Maybe that's why the basketball gods brought them together when West served as a consultant for Curry's Warriors for six seasons.

“It's not a perfect comparison—Curry was a better dribbler, West a superior stopper who played without the three-point line (added in 1979-80)—but the 6'3" Curry and 6'2" West found their spots on the game's all-time hierarchy in similar ways.”

[RELATED: Monta says coach Nelson doubted the 'We Believe' Warriors]

West was an integral part of Golden State’s dynastic run through the 2010s, providing a sage voice for a front office unfamiliar with success.

What a sight it would have been to actually see those two line up across from each other in an NBA game.

How Steph Curry played in back-to-back vs. Rockets, Spurs in NBA 2K sim

How Steph Curry played in back-to-back vs. Rockets, Spurs in NBA 2K sim

Editor’s note: With the NBA season halted over coronavirus concerns, Warriors fans have unanswered questions about the team and how it’s building toward the future. To provide answers, NBC Sports Bay Area will simulate some previously scheduled Warriors games through NBA 2K, mixing video-game results with real-life insights for our coverage team.

A number of tests needed to be passed for Steph Curry to be fully integrated back into the Warriors' lineup. Among them was how Curry would play on the road during a back-to-back.

In the virtual world of NBA 2K20, he flourished under the circumstance, leading the Warriors in blowout victories over the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs.

Over the two-game stretch, Curry accumulated 71 points while shooting 60 percent from the field. During the first game of the Texas Two-Step, Curry exploded for 45 points against the Rockets, including 18 in the third quarter, helping the Warriors beat Houston 110-93. A night later, he added 26 points, as the Warriors handily beat the Spurs 108-100.

Listen and subscribe to the Runnin' Plays podcast:

Curry's digital outburst came during a unique time for the guard. After missing three months with a broken hand, the former MVP played his first game back from injury March 5. As Curry approached his return, Warriors coach Steve Kerr expressed caution when asked how he'd bring his star guard back into the fold, making the virtual back-to-back uncertain. However, Curry pushed back on the notion of sitting out games down the stretch.

In any case, Curry's digital availability worked out for his newest teammate Andrew Wiggins. Alongside Curry, Wiggins scored 36 points against the Spurs, including 18 points in the first quarter. Nearly two months ago, Wiggins was acquired in large part due to his perceived fit alongside Curry. In their lone real-world experience playing together, the duo combined for 62 points. If virtual play is any indication, Curry and Wiggins are adjusting well to each other's games.

[RELATED: Remembering Warriors' five most memorable playoff moments]

While the two-game stretch was promising, it might not be realistic. Entering league suspension, the Warriors were the worst team in the league, even with Curry on the active roster. While Curry's 2K play was encouraging, he'd still be playing without Klay Thompson, who was going to miss the rest of the season rehabbing a surgically repaired left knee. Additionally, Wiggins' propensity of inconsistent play could hinder a team trying to find rhythm heading into next season.

But as we've found out over the years, Curry makes any team he's on better, whether in actual or virtual reality.