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June 4, 2016

Steve Kerr

Oakland, California: Practice Day

Q. Coach, I want to know your thoughts on the unfortunate death of the great Muhammad Ali, and did you learn anything at all from him that you've applied to your life or even basketball?
COACH KERR: I'm glad you brought it up because we're all thinking about Muhammad Ali today. We started our practice with the old song from the '70s, Catch Me If You Can. Muhammad Ali was in his prime when I was a kid, eight, ten years old, just after Vietnam, just after the civil rights movement, and he was probably the most prominent athlete of the time as it related to social issues.

So what he did went so far beyond the boxing ring, the sporting arena in general. What he did not just for African-Americans, but for all Americans in terms of trying to promote equality, in terms of really raising the level of consciousness about what was happening in the country. Probably the most influential athlete in the history of our country.

So as a team, as an organization, we're thinking about him today, about his impact and of course his family.

Q. Isolation basketball comes with like a certain connotation that it's derided in today's NBA, and player movement, ball movement has always been prized. Is there a place for isolation basketball, and where is it most effective and where do you like to use it?
COACH KERR: Well, of course every team needs to play to their strengths, and we run some isolation at times. Usually it would be Steph getting a one-on-one matchup that he likes. When he's feeling it, he'll start going into his dribble-shot combination, fadeaway three over a big guy. Those often come out of isolations maybe after a switch. So it can be effective, but every team is different, and everyone has their own style.

Q. Did you ever get a chance to meet Muhammad, maybe spend some time with him in Phoenix?
COACH KERR: Met him once in Phoenix at a Suns game very briefly.

Q. What was that experience?
COACH KERR: It was a thrill. It was a thrill. He's one of the few people on Earth who had that presence where you just sort of got nervous, you know, just being in his presence, just being there in the same room. But it was quite an experience.

Q. Draymond's work defensively in the small lineup sometimes gets overlooked in the offensive explosions that happen. But can you speak to his importance there, not only defending the back line, but also racing out, getting after three-point shooters, all the things he has to account for and do defensively in those lineups?
COACH KERR: Yeah, he's such a versatile player and he's really the guy who kind of makes a small lineup work, especially at the defensive end of the floor, because he can guard point guards on switches, but he can protect the rim as well, and he can guard anybody in between on the wing.

So great defender, great awareness of the game and what's happening, and he's an All-Star player for a reason. I mean, he's good at a lot of things.

Q. I understand you went to the Paul Simon concert last night. So first of all, how was it? And second of all, do you look for chances to get your mind off of basketball for a little bit this time of year?
COACH KERR: I did go to the concert. It was fantastic. He's still got it. He's 74. His voice sounds exactly like he was 30 years old. His music is brilliant. I kind of grew up on it. Had a chance to meet him after the show, and it was a great experience. Yeah, it was kind of nice to get away from basketball for a couple hours.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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