Arizona’s basketball program was part of the basketball world spotlight last night although the Wildcats’ season ended three months ago.
The exposure once again of Steve Kerr, Andre Iguodala and Bruce Fraser winning another NBA title with the Golden State Warriors serves as a valuable marketing tool for the program.
Cleveland’s Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson and Derrick Williams were also former Wildcats who were part of the Finals.
Iguodala joins Kerr, Jud Buechler and Luke Walton as multiple champions from Arizona as players in the NBA.
Kerr won five titles as a player with the Bulls and Spurs, Buechler won three with the Bulls, Walton won two with the Lakers and Iguodala now has two with the Warriors.
1996 Steve Kerr, Jud Buechler (Chicago)
1997 Steve Kerr, Jud Buechler, Brian Williams (Chicago)
1998 Steve Kerr, Jud Buechler (Chicago)
1999 Steve Kerr, Sean Elliott (San Antonio)
2003 Steve Kerr (San Antonio)
2009 Luke Walton (LA Lakers)
2010 Luke Walton (LA Lakers)
2011 Jason Terry (Dallas)
2015 Andre Iguodala, Steve Kerr*, Luke Walton*, Bruce Fraser* (Golden State)
2016 Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson, Brett Brielmaier* (Cleveland)
2017 Andre Iguodala, Steve Kerr*, Bruce Fraser*
*Indicates member of coaching staff
Here are some social media reactions of the Warriors’ title involving Kerr, Iguodala and Fraser:
Lute Olson and his Arizona legacy leaves another imprint on the NBA
More historic achievements by Steve Kerr
Steve Kerr: 4th coach in NBA history to win multiple NBA titles within first 3 seasons of coaching (Phil Jackson, Bill Russell, John Kundla) pic.twitter.com/IqYaauKOZp
Won Multiple Championships As Player and Coach –
Bill Russell (2 as player-coach)
Steve Kerr pic.twitter.com/HAFWM70TKT
Bruce Fraser has become to Kerr what Jim Rosborough was to Lute Olson in coaching. Fraser and Kerr longtime friends from when they played together at Arizona.
Either way, Arizona was going to get three additional championship rings.
Kerr has been through a lot this season, having missed playoff games because of his health condition related to his back, which made many fear for his future in coaching.
This makes it worth it. pic.twitter.com/BtkZQU8LoJ
Steve Kerr crying. That man has been through Hell. Warriors don't have 2 rings without him. Special man right there pic.twitter.com/tU4xHhQGNf
Steve Kerr explained why this championship brought out more emotion than expected pic.twitter.com/e3rFiOPgga
“(Winning) never gets old but tonight was a little different based on the things I had to go through during this time.” — Kerr
Some love from former Arizona players and teammates of Kerr’s
So happy for Steve Kerr. Toughest guy in the NBA the last couple years. Also the best coach, funniest and most humble. Pretty good combo
“We had very little talent … it was mostly coaching.” — Kerr, as humorous as ever
Steve Kerr is the perfect mix of humor and humility and deserves as much praise as possible. pic.twitter.com/sGMFPFeVas
“What a run it’s been for the last few years and hopefully we can keep it going.” — Kerr
"It feels great because it took a lot of resilience to get over Game 7 last year, the heart break after that amazing season." – Steve Kerr pic.twitter.com/9vBpJ5EZZy
The full Kerr press conference after last night’s game.
Another solid NBA Finals appearance for the ageless Iguodala
The Big Four get all the headlines, but Andre Iguodala had the best plus-minus of any Warrior in the Finals (+60) pic.twitter.com/Jjnc48Iigo
No blocked shot this time for LeBron
Andre Iguodala with the big smash with LeBron getting out of the way. pic.twitter.com/kbIa84R46c
Andre Iguodala made sure LeBron wasn't going to block that 😱 pic.twitter.com/GxcG9TdZ1y
NBA champion times two
That many points off the bench in the Warriors’ most pivotal game of the season says a lot about Iguodala.
Andre Iguodala has scored a 2017 postseason-high 18 points.
Stephen Curry highly respects Fraser with his shooting coaching and that says it all
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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.