Steve Kerr on Phil Jackson: ‘He’s amazing’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

Steve Kerr sat at Phil Jackson’s table Thursday night at the Chicago Bulls’ Ring of Honor gala and dinner.

And as the night stretched on, and members from the 1995-96 championship team gathered to extend their laughs and memories, Kerr reflected on all “The Zenmaster” has shared with him over the years.

“Every time I’m with Phil and every time I communicate with him, I draw wisdom from him. He’s amazing,” Kerr said Friday night before his Golden State Warriors faced the Bulls. “(Thursday) night, we were telling random stories and he said, ‘Yeah, we lost to Milwaukee the next night.’ This is 26-28 years ago. He just has this photographic memory and so much wisdom. So just talking with him, I always mark things down and remember things and those things have been very helpful for me in my coaching career for sure.”

Kerr owns a unique perspective, having played for the Bulls dynasty and coached the Warriors one. And while the latter appears to be ending in this sub-.500 season for the Warriors, that didn’t prevent Kerr from enjoying this trip to Chicago.

“The similarity is just the incredible level of confidence going into every game that we felt in each case. Obviously, you don’t win that many games without being really good. But there’s a momentum that you capture that’s indescribable,” Kerr said. “You feel like you’re going to win every single night and you’re just kind of flying during the season. It doesn’t seem like you have the usual dog days or the inevitable bad games. I think each team might’ve suffered one or two bad losses, which is almost inconceivable.”

Pregame, Kerr joked about his ability to participate in the halftime ceremony honoring the inaugural Ring of Honor class, which included the 1995-96 team that won 72 games.

“From what I gather, it’s 25 minutes,” Kerr said of the halftime length. “I wouldn’t know what to say to my team for 25 minutes.”

Thursday night and Friday’s halftime allowed Kerr the opportunity to catch up with Jackson and his teammates once again.

“What Phil did year after year was set expectations and a standard and then drove a culture of inclusivity of inspiration of beauty,” Kerr said. “It was a feeling that you just couldn’t wait to come to the gym every day because you knew you were part of something special. And that was Phil’s genius.”

DeMar DeRozan grew up in Compton, Calif., as a huge Los Angeles Lakers fan. But he’s also appreciates the history of the NBA.

“It’s amazing to play for such a historic franchise,” DeRozan said. “For me being from Compton, growing up a Lakers fan, seeing the success he had, it was definitely amazing to see those guys come back and get the love that they deserve.”

DeRozan laughed when asked if, in his mind, Jackson is more a Lakers than Bulls coach.

“I mean, I’m more aware of the time with the Lakers,” DeRozan said. “But I feel like I’m right there with (the Bulls’ history) by putting on a Bulls jersey every single night.”

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