Michael Jordan and Steve Kerr Never Discussed Their Fathers Being Murdered: ‘I Think It Was Probably Too Painful for Each of Us’

Michael Jordan and Steve Kerr won three championships together on the Chicago Bulls in 1996, 1997, and 1998. The two hooked up for the game-winning shot in the 1997 Finals against the Utah Jazz, as Jordan passed it to Kerr, who hit a jumper with 5.0 seconds left in regulation during Game 6.

The two Bulls stars had a few things in common while they were teammates. Both players were hard workers who spent a lot of time on their craft and tragically lost their fathers to murders.

However, according to Kerr, he and Jordan never discussed their fathers being murdered.

Steve Kerr: Michael Jordan and I never talked about our fathers

In Episode 9 of ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries, Kerr revealed that he and Jordan never once talked about their fathers being killed. The sharpshooter said it was too difficult.

“Michael lived a different life than the rest of us, out of necessity,” Kerr said. “He couldn’t live that normal life. It was very difficult to reach him emotionally. We never discussed that (fathers being killed). I think it was probably too painful for each of us.”

Jordan’s father was killed in the summer of 1993 by two men who found him sleeping in his red Lexus on the side in North Carolina. Meanwhile, Kerr’s dad was killed in Beirut, Lebanon. He was the president of the American University and was shot in the head by two gunmen posing as students.

After their fathers were murdered, Jordan and Kerr took different paths to cope with the tragedies.

Michael Jordan played baseball, Steve Kerr threw himself more deeply into basketball

Jordan retired from the NBA in October 1993. A few months later, he signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox. His father always wanted him to play baseball, so Jordan honored his late dad the best way he knew how to.

Kerr was a freshman at the University of Arizona when his father was killed. His mom said in The Last Dance that he threw himself even more deeply into basketball after the assassination. Kerr played four years at Arizona before entering the NBA in 1988. The Phoenix Suns drafted him with the 50th overall pick in the 1988 draft.

Jordan returned to the Bulls in March 1995. Kerr was on the team and presumably couldn’t wait to play with His Airness. Even though Chicago lost to the Orlando Magic in the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals, everyone on the Bulls was thrilled to have Jordan back.

After getting back into basketball shape in the summer of 1995, Jordan entered training camp with revenge on his mind and was aggressive in practice. He and Kerr got into a fight, and Phil Jackson threw Jordan out of practice after the MVP punched Kerr in the eye.

MJ wound up calling Kerr to apologize, and the two had a solid relationship moving forward. They not only won three championships together, but they also made NBA history in 1995-96.

Bulls went 72-10 in 1995-96

The Bulls went 72-10 during the 1995-96 season. Jordan averaged 30.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists and won his fourth MVP and eighth scoring title. Meanwhile, Kerr put up 8.4 points and 2.3 assists per game while shooting 51.5% from beyond the arc.

Chicago won the 1996 championship over the Seattle SuperSonics in six games. Jordan won his fourth title and fourth Finals MVP on Father’s Day. He cried in the locker room after the final buzzer sounded since it was an emotional day for him.

He doesn’t capture six Finals MVPs like Jordan, but Kerr did win five rings with the Bulls and San Antonio Spurs. He’s also won three titles as head coach of the Golden State Warriors and led the Dubs to 73 wins in 2015-16, breaking the Bulls’ wins record from 1995-96.

Jordan and Kerr will forever be connected. They both overcame terrible tragedies and became champions, both on and off the court.

Stats courtesy Basketball Reference

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