Steve Kerr is famously known as the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA) head coach. He has won three NBA Championships with the team since joining the franchise in May of 2014. Impressive as they are, they were all a continuation of the high level of success he enjoyed as a player.
Before he began calling the shots as coach of the NBA mega-franchise, he played in the league for six teams and won five NBA championships. The first three came while he wore the colors of the iconic Chicago Bulls.
Steve Kerr’s First Three Rings Came as Part of Chicago Bulls’ Golden Generation
After a modestly impressive college career with the University of Arizona, during which he also represented the United States at the 1986 FIBA World Championship, Steve joined the NBA. The Phoenix Suns drafted him in the second round of the 1988 NBA draft, and he spent a year with the team before leaving for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After spending three years with Cleveland, Steve joined the Orlando Magic in 1992 and spent just a year with the team before leaving for the Chicago Bulls in 1993. At the Chicago Bulls, Steve played alongside the legendary Michael Jordan. He spent seven years at Chicago Bulls and won three NBA Championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998.
However, unlike the rings he won in the second phase of his professional career, Steve Kerr was a muted contributor. He was a second-tier player who started zero games in all three regular seasons of the championship campaign. However, he played in 82 games in the 1995/96 and 1996/97 seasons, averaging 23.4 and 22.7 minutes per game.
In the 1995/96 season, with his limited playing time, Steve had 8.4 points per game in the regular season, contributing to the Bulls’ then NBA-record of 72-10. He played all 18 games in the postseason, winning his first ring with a 4-2 defeat of the Seattle SuperSonics in the NBA Finals.
He Contributed at Crucial Moment for the Second and Third Rings
In the 1996/97 season, Steve Kerr had a more significant impact in the Bull’s second championship victory. After averaging 8.1 points per game in the regular season, he scored the title-winning shot in the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. Kerr, who played all 19 games and averaged 5.1 points per game, took a pass from Jordan and dropped a 17-footer with 5 secs left in the match.
The story was similar for his third ring with the Bulls in the 1998 NBA Finals. After an even small presence in the regular season, where he played 50 games and averaged 7.5 points per game, he played all 21 games in the postseason. He made the decisive pass to Jordan in the final game of the finals against the Utah Jazz.
After missing a 3-pointer, he grabbed the rebound and passed to Jordan to hit the net for three points, putting them out of reach in the last minute. The Bulls won the series in six games, and he moved to the San Antonio Spurs, where he continued his championship-winning streak.
The Last Two Rings of Steve Kerr’s Playing Career Came Three Seasons Apart
While his first four rings came consecutively between 1996 and 1999, Steve Kerr had to wait three seasons before getting his fifth ring. After joining the San Antonio Spurs for the 1998/99 season in a sign-and-trade deal, he won his fourth ring in a series victory over the New York Knicks.
Unlike his championship-winning seasons with the Bulls, he had an even lesser presence in the team. He played 44 games in the regular season and 11 games in the postseason, averaging 4.4 and 2.2 points per game. Still, his fourth championship put him in the record books as the second player to win four straight NBA titles outside of the 1960s Boston Celtics dynasty.
Kerr spent two more seasons with the Spurs before a temporary departure to Portland for the 2001/02 season. In his final NBA season and return to the Spurs in 2002/03, he played a lot more games, albeit with lesser minutes. He played only ten games during the Spurs run to the title, scoring four second-half three-pointers in the 2003 Western Conference Finals.
San Antonio Spurs defeated the New Jersey Nets in the 2003 NBA Finals in six games, handing Kerr his fifth ring as a player. After the finals, he announced his retirement, ending his career with 910 regular-season games and the league’s all-time leader in career three-point shooting percentage.
He Has Won Three Additional Rings as an NBA Coach
About two decades into his retirement as a professional player, Steve Kerr became the head coach of the Oakland based NBA team, the Golden State Warriors. He took over the job from Mark Jackson and began working with the team in the 2014 Summer League.
It did not take long for Steve to show the league what was to come when he led the Warriors to 14 consecutive wins in his first season for a 19-2 record career start as a coach. He finished the season with a 67-15 record, placing first in the Pacific Division.
With an emphasis on offense, which had helped him blaze the regular season, he led the Golden State Warriors to a 16-5 run in the NBA playoffs. His team played against the Cleveland Cavaliers with Lebron James and fellow rookie coach David Blatt in the hotly contested series. They won the title in six games, giving Kerr his first ring as a head coach and sixth championship overall.
He would have continued the streak the defined his first set of rings had it not been for a 4-3 loss against the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. In the run to the finals, Kerr led the team to a 73-9 record, winning NBA Coach of the Year.
Steve Kerr’s Run to Three Titles with the Warriors Set Multiple Records
His second and third rings came in the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals. Again, playing against the Cleveland Cavaliers, he led the Warriors to a 4-1 victory in the Finals. He also had a 16-1 record throughout the playoffs.
In 2018 under his leadership, the Golden State Warriors went on a sweep of the Cavaliers, winning four games to earn him his third title as head coach and eighth overall.
Some of the records set on his title-winning runs include:
- Fourth Coach in NBA History to win two Championships in first three seasons of coaching
- First Head Coach in NBA History to lead his team to 67 or more wins in three consecutive seasons
- Best Postseason Winning Percentage in NBA History with 16-1 record
- First Person in NBA History to be part of a 70-win team as a player and head coach
A Successful Playing and Coaching Career Has Made Kerr a $35 Million Net Worth
Seeing as he played in the less lucrative era of the NBA and he was not a superstar player, Steve Kerr earned $15.8 million in 14 years as a player. When adjusted for inflation, that figure rises to $24 million, which is still relatively small for someone who won multiple titles on two teams. One of his best earning seasons was his final year when he earned $2.625 million.
His earnings have fared better as a coach. When he joined the Golden State Warriors in 2014, he signed a five-year $25 million contract. The deal earns him $5 million per year, which he made up until 2018 when the Warriors extended his contract.
The exact detail of the contract remains unknown. However, there has been strong speculation that Steve signed a three-year extension, and his salary was doubled to $10 million. However, the Warriors coach has suggested the real terms puts it less than that.
According to some reports, the difference is $500,000, putting his annual salary at $9.5 million, and making him the second highest-earning coach in the NBA. Whatever the truth might be, between what he made as a player and a coach, Steve Kerr has been able to amass a total net worth of $35 million.
Other Sources of Steve Kerr’s Wealth include a TV Commentary Career and Team Ownership
Before earning the big bucks as a coach, Steve made money working as a broadcast analyst for TNT. Working alongside Marv Albert, he offered commentary on games and news in and around the NBA. He also had his own segment for the network, Steve’s Refreshing Thoughts, which later became Steve Wonders.
In terms of making money through insightful game analysis, he also worked for Yahoo! and was a regular contributor to the website, Grantland. Kerr also provided his voice for in-game commentary for the EA Sports game series, NBA Live between 2006 and 2010. He also served as a color analyst for NBA 2K from 2012 to 2015.
He gave up broadcasting to further earn as the general manager of Phoenix Suns, a team he played for during his career. Steve Kerr assumed the role three years after he and a group of buyers acquired the team for $300 million. The deal gave him one percent ownership of the franchise until 2014 when he sold it on joining the Golden State Warriors.
Aside from a High Net Worth and Multiple Rings, Steve Has Also Been Married for Three Decades
Based on the three basic metrics of success, money, career, and marriage, Steve Kerr has been highly successful. He has been married to Margot Kerr, a woman he met during his college years at the University of Arizona. They met in their sophomore year on a blind date set up by his teammate, Bruce Fraser.
According to Margot, Bruce, believing that their nerdy personalities would be a good match, arranged the meet. His instincts turned out to be right, and they started dating shortly after meeting. Two years after leaving college and while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, they got married on September 15, 1990, in Ohio.
Their wedding was attended by family and friends, including the man who introduced them to each other. Bruce now works on his staff as an assistant player development coach for the Warriors.
Margot Kerr is the Daughter of a Professor and Author
We still do not know much about his wife, but we know she was born in Tucson, Arizona, in 1967 and has three siblings, Rachel, Chris, and Geoff. She attended a Catholic high school, and her mother is Karen Brennan, a poet, and professor. She graduated a year before Steve, and she moved to Los Angeles to get a job.
Speaking of her mother, Karen, she described Steve Kerr as a son-in-law from heaven. One of the things that informed the comment was Steve’s actions after Margot’s sister, Rachel, suffered a horrific motorcycle accident in 1995. Rachel was a former UA distance running athlete and Amphitheater High School graduate.
At the time, Steve was playing for the Bulls. During a game against the Utah Jazz before Thanksgiving, he requested that the announcer give a shoutout to Rachael. The gesture was well-appreciated by the family.
His Children Share His Passion for Sports
Since they got married, the couple has given birth to three children – Nick, Madeleine, and Matthew. Two of them, Nick, and Madeleine, who also goes by, Maddy, share their father’s intense passion for sports. Nick Kerr played basketball in high school to college level for the University of San Diego.
Although he never made it to the NBA as a player, he went on to serve as a coaching intern at Cal before he joined the San Antonio Spurs’ coaching staff. His sister, Maddy, who is the middle child, played volleyball for the Torry Pines High School volleyball team.
She has been named among the Fab 50 by Volleyball Magazine and ranked #65 by Prepvolleyball.com. Maddy Kerr was also featured in the Pac-12 All-Freshman team and was voted Freshman of the Year. Her skills have earned her tryouts for the US Women’s National Team and US Collegiate National Team.
As for Steve and Margot Kerr’s third child, Matthew, he is a more artistic figure who prefers reading and writing. He writes screenplays and appears to be on his way to Hollywood.
Members of the Shia Lebanese Militia Killed Steve Kerr’s Father
For all the success of his life thus far, Steve had a rough start to it. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and spent most of his childhood living in the country and other Middle Eastern nations. His parents were Ann Zwicker and Malcolm H. Kerr, an American academic that specialized in the middle east.
He grew up with three siblings, and for years, they had a decent childhood before the events of January 1984. On January 18, while working as president of the American University of Beirut, his father was shot twice in the back of his head. He was killed by members of the Shia Lebanese militia with suppressed handguns in his office hallway.
Steve Kerr was 18 and a college student at the time. He and his family later sued the Iranian government for his murder. Tale of their struggles is detailed in the 2008 book, One Family’s Response to Terrorism: A Daughter’s Memoir, by his sister, Susan Kerr van de Ven.