After the Golden State Warriors home game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night, Steph Curry was, as per the usual, candid when meeting with the media.
When asked about the team’s decision to let Will Ferrell hang out before the game and during warmups, Curry got serious: “We’d lost four, five straight, and you add that to the mix, could get a little distracted.”
Taken on its own, it’s a rather cold statement from an intense competitor who has made it abundantly clear that he’s not OK with the team’s recent slide. But as always, the context is vital. Curry prefaced the above quote by saying, “It was fun, I’m glad we took advantage of it.” Immediately after mentioning how the team could get distracted, Curry noted, “But I think we fed off the energy,” before complimenting Ferrell’s shooting form.
“He actually had some good rotation on the ball”— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 9, 2022
Steph breaks down Will Ferrell’s shooting form pic.twitter.com/htg8yUQvpk
If the Warriors had lost, that first quote still would have been Curry’s sentiment, even if he may not have voiced it, and the contextual bookends would have been absent. But they won, and handily at that, which is why the quote was preceded and proceded by joyous, approving statements.
It’s safe to say it was a risk by Steve Kerr. The Warriors had lost five games in a row, and nine of their last 11. They looked unfocused at times, and undisciplined at others. With key players injured, they’ve been relying on young players who might not yet understand the depth of sacrifice required to win at the highest level.
And in the face of that, Kerr welcomed in a comedian, dressed as Jackie Moon, a character from the 2008 film “Semi-Pro,” to not only attend the game but speak to the team in the locker room, take part in the tunnel huddle, and then join Curry and Klay Thompson for their warmups, disrupting the meticulous pre-game routines of two already-slumping shooters.
You can see how easily that could have backfired. It’s not hard to imagine the headlines and internet takes that would have surrounded Kerr and the Warriors had Ferrell been the distraction that Curry referenced, and had the Dubs lost their sixth straight game.
Are the Warriors actually taking this seriously?
Steve Kerr is more invested in having fun than in winning games.
Klay Thompson would rather hang out with celebrities than regain his shooting form.
The Warriors are free falling, and their response is to hang out with Hollywood A-Listers.
But the Warriors didn’t lose. And their win offered the latest reminder as to Kerr’s remarkable ability to handle a locker room, and to manage personalities.
Most coaches would have thought that the Ferrell cameo was a distraction, and vetoed it (and for some teams, they’d be correct). Of the few that would have approved of the idea, some would have been unwilling to run with it, fearing the above criticisms if their team still lost.
But Kerr — who said that Ferrell reached out to him a while ago — went with it. And in doing so, he told us all that he kind of knows what he’s doing with this coaching gig.
That’s been in question lately, at least on the internet. Kerr has always been a frequent target from a certain faction of the fanbase, and that group has been extra vocal over the last month or so. Many are critical of his offensive strategies and what is so commonly dubbed as his “Kumbaya approach,” and while some of that may be understandable criticism, his elite management skills should be brought up for fairness when his other skillsets are challenged.
It shouldn’t be surprising that a coach who spent much of his career playing for Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich — two all-time great coaches who were known more for their people management than their X’s and O’s — excels in that area. But it shouldn’t be forgotten, either.
After all, the Warriors won. It may not have been because Jackie Moon waltzed into Chase Center with his knee pads strapped on extra tight, but it sure wasn’t in spite of it, either.
And if you look at the final score, and then listen to Klay talk ... it’s hard to arrive at any conclusion other than that Kerr pulled a masterful management move.
Klay: "During my rehabilitation, when I would have some dark days I would put [Semi-Pro] on and it would make me smile" pic.twitter.com/nxZ94sKQ6z— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 9, 2022
Klay on warming up with Jackie Moon: "Dreams do come true" pic.twitter.com/ufsNVtqlmW— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 9, 2022