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Catch up on Steve Rivera’s reports at FoxSportsArizona.com
Moments after Steve Kerr coached the Golden State Warriors past the Cleveland Cavaliers to win his sixth NBA title overall, first as a head coach, he thanked his former coach Lute Olson first and then followed with Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich and Lenny Wilkens.
“I felt very honored to be mentioned with Pop and Phil,” Olson said in a text to FoxSportsArizona.com early Wednesday morning.
Olson was the coach who recruited Kerr to Arizona as part of his first recruiting class in 1983. Olson watched Tuesday night when four of the players he coached played a role in Golden State winning the title. They included Kerr, NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala and assistant coaches Luke Walton and Bruce Fraser.
Kerr and Iguodala are the NBA’s first championship coach and Finals MVP from the same school, another source of pride for Olson.
“Andre did a super job of defending LeBron (James),” Olson said. “He was also outstanding on offense and on the boards. He was very deserving of the MVP.”
His observation of Kerr’s ability to coach: “Great team, very unselfish. Steve and his staff did a great job of developing the offense and defense.”
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Steve Rivera and Anthony Gimino released a book late last year about the pertinent stories behind what has made Arizona basketball what it is today. It is a must-read for any college basketball fan. Please contact Rivera by e-mail to inquire about buying a copy.
“I’m thinking of Lute Olson. I’m thinking of Phil Jackson, Lenny Wilkens, Gregg Popovich. I’ve been blessed to play for the greatest coaches ever, and I’ve learned a ton from them, and they’ve all helped me get here.”
— Steve Kerr, in an interview with ABC-TV’s Doris Burke following Golden State’s NBA title-clinching win over Cleveland on Tuesday
Steve Rivera is a longtime Tucson sports journalist was the Arizona basketball beat reporter for the Tucson Citizen for almost 20 years. He presently is a writer for FoxSportsArizona.com. He also is a guest analyst on KCUB (1290-AM) and editor-in-chief of Tucson-based Tail Winds magazine.
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