One of the most popular athletes to play for the Arizona Wildcats is hurting and his absence from the NBA playoffs is causing quite a stir in Tucson and all over the world.
Steve Kerr, whose jersey is retired in the McKale Center rafters, is part of Arizona’s holy trio with Lute Olson and Sean Elliott (Tucson’s favorite son) — those who helped elevate the program to Final Four caliber in the late 1980’s.
Tucsonans revel in Kerr’s success with his five NBA titles as a player and another as a head coach of the Golden State Warriors. They also feel his pain with a heavy heart, dating to when his father was assassinated in Lebanon when Kerr was a freshman in 1983.
Kerr is now dealing with health issues, severe enough to keep him from coaching the Warriors in their last two games against Portland in the NBA playoffs. He may miss the rest of the playoffs. Some reports suggest Kerr may have coached his last game.
With such disheartening news, the natural reaction is to push back with prayers and the hope that Kerr can rally and resume being part of the game he’s devoted his life to since his adolescent years.
The following are some social media reactions to the recent developments involving Kerr’s health concern, related to complications following his back surgery before last season.
“I wish you a healthy recovery. Whatever that you’re going through I hope the man above continues to put his blessings on top of you and your family, man, that you pull through. Get back to the sidelines. Get back to being you on a day-to-day basis.” — LeBron James’ message to Kerr
“What he’s going through right now and the way that he’s handled it, it speaks volumes to just who he is as a person, giving us everything he’s got. We want to do that for him when we’re out there playing.” — Stephen Curry
Classy Tweet by the Blazers, of whom Kerr was a part of during the 2001-02 season, shown in the picture with another Arizona legend, Damon Stoudamire.
Get well soon, Coach! pic.twitter.com/qgPydL9eSY
Is being part of the Warriors’ championship-caliber franchise keeping Kerr in the game whereas he might have left the game otherwise?
If Kerr’s condition is bad enough to keep him from the last few games of the opening series against Portland, can it turn around quick enough for him to return for the playoffs? All of the playoffs?
Kerr’s back surgery has caused lingering effects that adversely affect him daily. If he had to do it over again, he would have said no to surgery.
Steve Kerr updates his health status, says symptoms have worsened, he will not coach tomorrow and status unknown beyond pic.twitter.com/qtQRAYYHvq
Kerr was inducted into the California Interscholastic Federation Hall of Fame for his performance at Palisades Charter High School in Los Angeles.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.