Steve Kerr recalls dad’s murder in emotional ‘Last Dance’ moment

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Behind the 14 combined rings between Michael Jordan and Steve Kerr lies an unspoken bond having nothing to do with basketball.

Kerr’s game-winning shot against the Jazz in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals cemented him as a key part of the Bulls’ dynasty with Jordan, but the two had a devastating tragedy in common, too.

Nine years before Jordan’s father, James, was murdered in North Carolina, Kerr’s father, Malcolm, was assassinated in Beirut.

“We never discussed that,” Kerr said in episode nine of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” on Sunday. “I think it was probably too painful for each of us.”

Kerr was a freshman at Arizona in 1984 when his father, then the president of American University of Beirut in the midst of the Lebanese Civil War, was shot and killed by two gunmen outside of his office.

“So, I received a phone call in the middle of the night from a family friend,” Kerr said. “My phone rang at my door at 3 o’clock in the morning, so I knew something was up and he just said ‘Steve, I have terrible news.’ So, yeah.”

Kerr, now the outspoken Warriors coach, turned to basketball to deal with the horrific event. He was lightly recruited out of high school but became an All-American at Arizona before going on to a successful NBA playing and coaching career.

“Basketball was the one thing I could do to take my mind off what happened,” Kerr said. “So I went to practice the next day. I didn’t know what else to do.”

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