Kerr says that his playing days help him keep an even keel as a GM.
(Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images)
Since the advent of fantasy basketball, everybody believes that they can be a GM. Most fans have visions of a man maniacally working deals on the phone and using a staff of MIT grads to crack stats. So in order to dispel all (most) the myths, Suns President of Basketball Operations and GM Steve Kerr told Suns.com what his days are like.
It helped me to play for 15 years and see the ups and downs of the season and understand over the course of time that you can’t be too up or too down. You have to keep an even keel.
I was much better at understanding than later in my career than I was earlier on as a young player. Earlier in my career, I’d have one bad game and I wouldn’t sleep that night.
Then I learned to deal with the rollercoaster a little better. I watched the coaches that I played for, and they were all generally very calm. Lenny Wilkins, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich and Cotton Fitzsimmons were all big-picture guys.
They understood that you can’t get too emotional over one game. You have to pick your spots and know when to really hit the players hard and when to back off.
The big picture was always: you have to keep the ship going forward. Just like it’s important in Alvin’s position, in my position it’s important to have that composure.
One of the things I really like about the job is the interaction with the people in the office and on our coaching staff. I really enjoy communicating.
Whether it’s with my staff or the coaches or the players, I like the communal aspect of it. I find the more I’m with everyone, the more fun it is and the easier it is to get through the difficult days.
The beauty of this job though is that if you’re a basketball junkie like I am, it doesn’t feel like work a lot of time. I love watching basketball, and when we’re playing well I love sitting in the stands and watching the game unfold and seeing our players perform. I don’t feel like I’m working at all.
When you’re making a trade, though, it is work. You’re you’re dealing with the players’ lives, and you’re dealing with the spiritual core of the team. I was traded five times as a player, and it isn’t fun to have to pack up your family and move on. So I feel for our players when we make a deal, but I also understand that it’s part of the business and we have to do what we feel is best for the team.
I attribute my laid-back nature to growing up in Southern California. My friends will tell you that when the games are happening and there’s competition involved, that laid-back demeanor goes away pretty quickly.
As a player I had a lot of outbursts and tantrums as a kid. I’m unbelievably hard on myself. In everyday life, I’m very laid-back, very tolerant and easy to get along with, but if there’s competition on the line and I’m not having success, I’ve got some fire in my belly that I have to temper.