Steve Kerr won three NBA championships as Michael Jordan’s teammate in Chicago and another two as Kevin Durant’s coach in Golden State. His latest hot take about the two all-time greats might surprise you.
Speaking this week with NBC Sports Bay Area’s Raj Mathai, the Warriors head coach Kerr touched on Durant, whom he will be coaching again as an assistant for Team USA this summer.
“He just showed he’s the most talented basketball player on earth, if not of all time,” Kerr said. “Honestly. He’s just so gifted. I loved coaching him, and I’m looking forward to doing so again.”
Kerr even stuck to his guns when the interviewer countered that Jordan was perhaps the most talented basketball player of all-time instead.
“I think he’s more gifted [than Jordan], I really do,” Kerr said of Durant. “That’s saying something, but Kevin is a different … entirely different breed. He’s 6-11 with guard skills, unlimited three-point range, passing, shot-blocking — his shot-blocking at the rim, it’s just stunning. Watching him this year was really, really gratifying to see.”
In truth, the comparison is a pretty difficult one to make because Jordan and Durant are different sizes and played two different positions. Jordan was a more gifted scorer in the post, which was a bigger point of emphasis during his era, while Durant is a more gifted scorer from the three-point line, the greater point of emphasis in his era.
It is also inevitable that pro athletes will become more physically gifted as the decades go by and evolution runs its course. Seven-footers in the mold of Durant, Karl-Anthony Towns and Nikola Jokic who can shoot the three and put the ball on the floor were unheard-of during Jordan’s time. Similarly, high-flying players like Jordan who lived above the rim and could score from any angle imaginable were unheard-of in Bob Cousy’s time.
Still, Durant might not be too pleased about Kerr’s comments here. He was dismissive of a recent attempt to compare him to Jordan on social media.