Steve Kerr spoke with The Seth Davis Show about losing the 1988 Final Four to Oklahoma during his senior season with the Arizona Wildcats.
During the 1987-88 season, the Arizona Wildcats were one of the nation’s top teams. They entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed in the West, having lost only two games on the season. Through four tournament games the Wildcats were a buzzsaw, beating teams by an average of 27 points per game. And then it all came to a screeching halt.
In the Final Four semifinal game, Arizona ran up against the tournament’s leading scorer, Stacey King, and the Oklahoma Sooners (who would go on to be national runners-up to Danny and the Miracles from Kansas). Kerr was held to six points, roughly half his season average, and went 2-for-13 in his final game as collegiate player. During a recent chat with The Seth Davis Show, he opened on how, for a long time, that Final Four loss haunted him.
“For a long time I couldn’t forget the Final Four that I played in in 1988. I thought about it forever. We lost in the Final Four. I didn’t think about any of the wins, I only thought of the loss. So, I’m familiar with that feeling.”
As a professional, Kerr would go on to win five titles during stints with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs. He’d also collect one as head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 2015. Despite a gutting loss this past year in the NBA Finals, Kerr admits that a little more life perspective has made the wins a little sweeter and blunted the losses, if even ever so slightly.
“I think I’ve changed a little bit with coaching. The joy of winning a championship in 2015, I’ll remember that forever. I’m not about to forget losing last year: being up 3-1 and losing in seven. But that’s part of it.”