Warriors owner Joe Lacob on Steve Kerr: ‘I knew him through friends — and through golf, quite frankly’
May 15, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT
The Warriors fired Mark Jackson, because he didn’t fit.
They hired Steve Kerr, because he did.
I believe both those moves were made without any malicious intent and without considering race. But that doesn’t mean race didn’t play a factor.
Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group and David Aldridge of NBA.com have already written thoughtfully about the role of race in the firing of Jackson, who is black. Given how the Warriors and Kerr, who is white, have discussed their courtship, the issue should not fade silently into the background without further consideration.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob, who is white, via Sam Amick of USA Today:
“I knew him through friends — and through golf, quite frankly,” Lacob said of Kerr. “I’ve been on golf trips with Steve before, so I know him socially for many years. He’s best friends with one of my best friends and some other people, so I’ve known him, but not necessarily that close or that professionally as has been portrayed.
“He is certainly somebody who we have always liked, sort of a great, intelligent guy. So he was on our list, and when we decided to make a change he was on our short list of people who we wanted to talk to.”
And I’ve known Joe actually a long time through a mutual friend, a venture capitalist in the Bay Area. So we’ve been on golf trips together.
The familiarity for sure was helpful and it helped everybody relax and just sort of… be themselves.
This is how racism manifests itself.
What percentage of black families relative to white families have opportunities to belong to the type of golf clubs Lacob belongs to and plays at?
For a long time in America, country-club membership was exclusive and limited by ethnicity. Even as those walls are falling as society becomes more tolerant, that past racism still lingers as all clubs tend to attract members with previous connections, and those connections can trickle down generations.
There’s also the issue of wealth, a requirement for access to the nation’s top golf courses. Through discrimination, blacks have been denied access to housing, schools and jobs — opportunities to accumulate wealth. Without that in, blacks have fewer opportunities to make impressions on those, like Lacob, in position of power.
Personal connections matter. There’s no denying that. Kerr’s hiring proves it.
Kerr might be incredibly qualified and absolutely worthy of the job. I’m not suggesting otherwise. But his prior relationship with Lacob got his foot in the door and helped him rise to the top of the search.
When there are multiple qualified candidates, those connections matter. Kerr had a tiebreaker other candidates like Lionel Hollins did not.
There’s no easy solution. Lacob is entitled to have a coach he’s comfortable with.
Perhaps, the best solution is introspection during situations like this – Lacob consciously evaluating whether factors, even ones out of his control, have led to bias due to race. That would help ensure the Warriors have the “best” coach, whatever that means to Lacob.
Maybe that happened here. I’m not privy to Lacob’s internal dialogue.
But for Lacob to wantonly discuss his and Kerr’s friendship through golf suggests it didn’t.
Aug 1, 2014, 8:45 PM EDT
New uniforms for the national team.
Aug 1, 2014, 7:35 PM EDT
Damian Lillard also wanted Williams back in Portland
Aug 1, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT
Magic Johnson takes parting shot at Mike D’Antoni
Aug 1, 2014, 5:44 PM EDT
Rumor had suggested Brewer could replace Kevin Martin or J.J. Barea in deal
Aug 1, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
Chicago added Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott this summer
Aug 1, 2014, 4:14 PM EDT
New York had only minimum contract available
Aug 1, 2014, 3:37 PM EDT
If true, Corey Brewer would be a nice get for the Cavaliers.
Aug 1, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
It’s no Heat-Cavaliers, but it’ll do
Aug 1, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT
Parker’s max extension: three years, $43,335,938
Aug 1, 2014, 1:51 PM EDT
Aug 1, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Wade is trying to drop pounds to make life easier on his knees. We’ll see how much that helps.
Aug 1, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT
That will go away in three months
Aug 1, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT
“So when I say I felt disrespected, I just felt like the way I played the game of basketball wasn’t appreciated.” —Isaiah Thomas referring to Sacramento management.
Aug 1, 2014, 11:20 AM EDT
Why is the Pacers’ star choosing LeBron James’ team?
Report: Greg Monroe ‘doesn’t really have a great interest in going back and playing with the Pistons’
Aug 1, 2014, 10:29 AM EDT
Pistons have reportedly talked sign-and-trade with Hawks, Suns and Blazers (but Portland is out)
Aug 1, 2014, 9:44 AM EDT
Finally, San Antonio basketball fans have a reason to be proud
Aug 1, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT
Kevin Durant has a couple nice ones.
Aug 1, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Bidding starts at $35,000. Which we all have just lying around.
Aug 1, 2014, 1:35 AM EDT
“Nothing to see here. Move along.”
Aug 1, 2014, 12:05 AM EDT
Bosh was very close to leaving Miami in free agency,
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- Tony Parker signs (another) contract extension with Spurs 9
- Bulls owner issues statement refuting rift between Bulls front office, Derrick Rose 23
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- Report: Cavaliers last team standing in Kevin Love trade talks 89
- Pat Riley says he didn’t think LeBron was leaving, Heat can turn around quickly 61