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Steve Kerr brings toughness to the Warriors Through a Heartbreaking Past:

kerr_family
Steve Kerr, his 3 siblings and his mom and dad

Whenever change comes to a professional team there are always extremes when it comes to fan reaction. You have some fans who think every move is a good one and all will be great, and you have others that think the sky is about to fall and that all is lost.   Thankfully some fans wait to see what actually happens. The Steve Kerr hiring as the Golden State Warriors coach elicited all of those reactions.

After listening to local talk shows and sportscasters giving their two cents, some have questioned whether the toughness that Mark Jackson seemed to bring will be lost with the more calmer and people oriented Steve Kerr.   In all honesty, there are few tougher than Steve Kerr.

Steve Kerr grew up the son of Malcolm and Ann Kerr; brilliant parents; with Malcolm having an extreme love for the middle east. The Kerr’s were a part of 3 generations of world travelers with Steve actually spending his freshman year in high school in Cairo, Egypt.   Eventually in time, Malcolm finally got his dream job which was president of the American University in Beirut.

Steve through luck, circumstance, and calls from his father to Lute Olson, finally got a scholarship offer from coach Olson and the University of Arizona.   Olson didn’t think much of Kerr as a player, but to have such a great character guy on the team was something he wanted.

Malcolm couldn’t wait to see his son play. When Steve and the family met in Beirut for the Christmas of 1983, Malcolm got to see grainy film of his son play for Arizona. His eyes lit up. It was a dream for him to see Steve play college ball, and you couldn’t wipe the smile off of his face if you tried.

But in the early morning hours of January 18, 1984, Steve got a phone call that would change his life forever. Islamic terrorists had ambushed his father in Beirut and shot him execution style. His crime?   Being American. His mom Ann said, “for us 9/11 started on 1/18/1984.” It ended the life of one of the worlds kindest and most understanding souls and a friend to the Arab world. The rest of his family was thankfully unharmed.

Two days after his fathers death, Steve came off the bench against Arizona St.   His first shot was a long three that hit nothing but net. Lute Olsen and many others in the crowd had tears in their eyes. As Lute Olsen pointed out, “we had so many emotions going on that night that it was hard to keep the feelings inside”. The Arizona fans were so touched by Steve that it was like they held him in their arms. After Steve would make a basket, the P.A. announcer would yell “STEVE KERR” which was always followed by the crowd repeating, “STEVE KERR”.

Steve worked hard and moved up the ladder and helped make the Wildcats one of the best teams in the country. In his senior season though, one of the ugliest things from a college crowd was seen on the road in Tempe against rival Arizona St.  Before the game during warm ups, students started to taunt Steve.  They began chanting “where’s your daddy” and “PLO, PLO”. Some even told him to go see his dad in Beirut.   It was so ugly that some Arizona St. students came down to the bench to apologize to Kerr.

People wondered why the PLO chant was yelled out because the PLO had nothing to do with it, but no one said all college students are very bright. (I think Tempe has more bars per capita than any other city in the country so that tells you something.)

Kerr was overwhelmed. He began to shake and tears filled his eyes. He sat on the bench and his teammates comforted him.   He later said he could not believe people could be so cruel and he became really upset. His teammate Tom Tolbert said it was the only time he ever thought of going into the stands to hit a fan. After regaining his composure, Kerr played his heart out. He was 6-6 from 3 point range and had 20 points at the half and ended with 22 in a 28 point thrashing of their rivals.

When Steve Kerr was chosen in the second round by the Phoenix Suns, few thought Steve would stick with anyone in the NBA. He was considered a journeyman at best who never really found a nitch until he was picked up by the Chicago Bulls. With the Bulls he had a role and he played it well. He was smart, tough, and could shoot in the clutch. In game 2 in the championship series against the Jazz, Kerr missed a 3 pointer but got the rebound and made a great pass to Michael Jordan who made a key 3 point play. In the clinching game, he broke the tie after Michael passed to him as he drained a 3.

At the end of his time with the Bulls, Kerr again found a home at San Antonio. He played the same role that he did in Chicago; make clutch shots and do the little things that win games. After his unlikely career was over, Kerr had 5 titles.   That was 2 more than Larry Bird, and 3 more than Wilt Chamberlain.

He had mixed reviews as a young GM for the Phoenix Suns, including the Shaquille Oneal trade, but he was professional and calm and never shied away from criticism. He later moved into sports casting.

When people talk about Steve Kerr today, they use terms like hard working, winner, and he HATES to lose. Kerr said the only game that he really can’t get over is the final four loss to Oklahoma in the NCAA playoffs when he was only 2 for 12 from 3 point range in an 8 point loss.

Part of his strength is that Steve has his parents charm and heart.   He gets along with people and is honest and caring. He likes to be underestimated by using an aw shucks mentality all the while he is ambitious, smart and competitive to a fault. All his life he’s been told he’s not going to make it but in the end he always seems to succeed and do it with a smile.

The first thing Steve wanted to do before he met with the local media is to meet with the Warriors employees. No not the players; he wanted to meet everyone. He wanted to meet people in marketing, and who worked the ticket sales and the offices. He wanted to meet the people behind the scenes. He also didn’t just call Stephen Curry; he called all of the players and talked to them. He was humble and respectful in a way his dad would be proud of.  He actually is thinking of going to Australia to meet with Andrew Bogut.

Will Steve Kerr be a good coach for the Warriors, especially with the nitpicking type of atmosphere that has been created by the microscope that is social media? I think so. I love the hire.  I know one thing though. The Warriors will be tough, smart, and hard working. They will have a coach that will answer questions and not shy away from criticism. In Kerr they have someone that will demand professionalism and smart play and defense which will take the Warriors to the next level.   I still think they are a player away from doing something special, but adding Steve Kerr as their head coach is a great move.

There hasn’t been this much excitement in Oakland since the Run TMC days.  So go ahead and underestimate Steve Kerr. Go ahead and be fooled by his choir boy demeanor.  In reality this guy is as tough as nails.  And somewhere above you still can’t wipe the smile off of his proud father Malcolm’s face.

 

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Stephen Sutton’s final inspiring message and how he changed the world.

Stephen Sutton; a teen that changed the world:

 And a child shall lead them……….

When I first heard about Stephen Sutton, I was pretty amazed.  It was another amazing story of a kid that was given a bad hand in life but who instead of folding, went all in.

Stephen was born on December 16, 1994 in Burntwood England.  He was the classic energetic and fun loving kid growing up but when he was 15 his world changed forever.  He was diagnosed with Stage 3 colorectal cancer.  Even after aggressive treatment, it spread to other parts of his body.  The doctors gave the unfortunate news that it was incurable.

For anyone that is devastating news.  Cancer doesn’t care if you are famous, rich, old, poor or young.  Instead of giving up though, Stephen; in his own words; was going to “make cancer his bitch.”

He made a list of 46 things he wanted to do in life and he amazingly did 34 of them.  He created a facebook page, Stephen’s Story (https://www.facebook.com/StephensStory) which now has over 1 million followers.  He began fundraising for the Teenage Cancer Trust fund.  His goal was to raise $10,000 pounds but instead of that, he has raised over $3.4 MILLION pounds.  Kids and famous people all over the UK began to donate.

His famous thumbs up with a smile inspired everyone.  People of all ages began to send photos on his Facebook page with a thumbs up of support.  He also was a part of breaking a Guinness Book of World Record by being a part of the largest amount of people outlining a heart with their hands.

He was able to meet Prime Minister David Cameron and his photo with him with a big “thumbs up” went viral.  He lit a positive fire in the UK that will be eternal.

In a final message, he inspired like only certain people can during their darkest hour.  Stephen showed us that life isn’t about being rich, having the hottest woman, or being around fame and fortune.  It isn’t arrogance or things or possessions.  He showed us that even in today’s technology based world, the most powerful thing of all is still the love and kindness of the human heart.  It’s compassion for others, and smiling and standing strong during good and bad times.  It’s inspiring others and making a difference through love.  The simplest of things.

‘It’s a final thumbs up from me! (Stephen’s last message)

‘I’ve done well to blag things as well as I have up till now, but unfortunately I think this is just one hurdle too far.  ‘It’s a shame the end has come so suddenly- there’s so many people I haven’t got round to properly thank or say goodbye too. Apologies for that.

‘There was also so many exciting projects and things I didn’t get to see out. Hopefully some will continue and if you want to carry on the fundraising please do (justgiving.com/stephen-sutton-TCT is the link to donate to).

‘All future updates on this page will probably be from a family member. I hopefully may have the energy to write a few tweets (@_StephensStory).

‘I will continue fighting for as long as I can, and whatever happens next I want you all to know I am currently in a good place mentally and at ease with the situation. ‘That’s it from me. It has been a good life.  Very good.’

 

 

.stephen sutton prime minister david cameron

What the Oakland Raiders Draft Means for 2014-15 Season

For the first time in a very long time, I am positive about the Raiders NFL draft.  Lets look at what each players’ role may be for next years season.

1:  Khalil Mack OLB-Buffalo

Most have never seen Mack play but with all that everyone is saying, the Raiders may have drafted the best defensive player in the draft.  A high character guy with a great attitude and work ethic, it’s the type of player that you build a defense around.  He can play standing up or in a stance and he will be starting day 1.

Strengths:  He’s a super fast play-maker who is a great tackler.  He dominated in college especially rushing the passer.  Potential super star.

Weakness:  Buffalo is a small school so the level of competition wasn’t great.

2.  Derek Carr QB-Fresno St.

Next years draft has a better mix of QB’s than this years draft in my opinion so a pick here wasn’t life or death.  The Raiders though loved Carr’s physical tools. Carr loves football, and he’s mature, and he has a great work ethic.  He’ll be on the bench next year with Matt Schaub running the show.

Strength:  A rocket for an arm.  He can make all the NFL throws.  He throws well on the run and is a good leader.  Good character guy who is a hard worker.

Weakness:  Did not play against top competition and did not have to deal with much of a pass rush for much of the year.  In the USC game, he was rushed often and he looked terrible.  He’ll have to play better against a rush.

3.  Gabe Jackson G-Mississippi St. 

Jackson was a total steal.  He was considered the best guard in the draft and many felt he was a for sure second round pick.  He did not give up a sack in the last 2 years and was dominant at times.

Strength:  Good all around player who has great size.  Another hard worker who can start right away.  This may complete the Raiders OL.

Weakness:  Has to keep his weight in check but otherwise he’s a solid player.

4.  Justin Ellis NT-Louisiana Tech

Ellis was a good run stopper and was a load to block at times.  He can become too heavy and it limited his play due to fatigue issues so he has to keep his weight down.  He’ll provide depth for the DL.

Strength:  Strong and physical who is a load to block at times.

Weakness:  One dimensional bull rusher who needs to get into better shape and learn to stay in his gap.

4.  Keith McGill CB-Utah

A physically gifted athlete who played well at CB for the Utes.  He’s a big corner; 6′ 3″, 210 lb: who has a lot of potential.

Strength:  He’s fast, athletic and a good cover corner.  He is big and has great size.

Weakness:  He’s not very physical and not a very good tackler.  He will have to improve his toughness which for some DB’s, is pretty hard to do in the pro’s.  Next year he will probably be a special teams player who will provide depth.

7.  TJ Carrie CB-Ohio

A good athlete and cover guy, Carrie was also a good special teams returner due to his speed.  He may make the team due to his special teams play.

Strength: Athletic, fast, good special teams returner.

Weakness:  Poor technique and only occasional ball hawk skills at times.  Needs to improve his football instincts.

7.  Shelby Harris DL-Illinois St.

Harris has talent but he’s had his problems.  He was kicked off the team last year for violating team rules and hasn’t played for a year.  He’s also had weight issues and at times get’s out of shape.  He has good numbers though and is a producer.  If he can get his act together, he may make the team and provide depth.  Harris had 7 sacks in 2012.

Strength:  Has shown off his talent in college with good numbers in the games he’s played in.  He’s a good tackler who can stuff the line of scrimmage.

Weakness:  Needs to mature and keep in shape.  He needs to improve his technique as well.

7.  Jonathan Dowling DB-Western Kentucky

He is tall and lanky and is a really good athlete.  He has good cover skills and good football instincts with good recover speed.  Will be pressed to make the team though.

Strength:  Good athlete with good cover skills and speed.

Weakness:  He’s not physical at all.  He’s easily blocked and over matched at the line of scrimmage.  If he could get into the weight room and become tougher, he could make the team.

 

 

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