The NBA and Zero COVID cases, with Steve Kerr
There’s one place in the country with zero COVID-19 cases. Andy chats with Golden State Warriors head coach and social justice advocate Steve Kerr about the NBA and the pandemic: from the suspension of the season in March to creating a COVID-free bubble in Orlando. Plus, how Steve’s incredible life story connects him to the tradition of outspoken athletes like Mohammed Ali and Bill Walton, and yes, there may be some basketball talk with Andy and Zach.
Check out these resources from today’s episode:
- Here is the Tom Friedman column that mentions Malcolm Kerr, Steve’s late father: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/09/opinion/trump-beirut-politics.html
- Read more about the saliva-based test that was funded by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association: https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/29667299/fda-allowing-saliva-based-test-funded-nba
- This article talks about white NBA coaches who speak out about social justice issues, including Steve Kerr: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/07/28/white-nba-coaches-social-justice/
- Check out the rules the NBA put in place for their bubble in Orlando: https://www.nytimes.com/article/nba-return-health-rules.html
In the Bubble is supported in part by listeners like you. You can become a member, get exclusive bonus content, ask Andy questions, and get discounted merch at http://lemonadamedia.com/inthebubble
Keep up with Andy on Twitter @ASlavitt and Instagram @andyslavitt, and find Steve Kerr @SteveKerr on Twitter.
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[00:38] Adam Silver: Certainly, we knew from the time we shut down our season in mid-March, until when we started up again in early July in Orlando, several dozens of our players became infected with the virus, probably no different than other members of the public, particularly young people who were out and about. And so relative to the lives they were living, we know this is much safer. In fact, we’ve had zero positive cases since we started.
[01:07] Andy Slavitt: Welcome to In the Bubble. This is Andy Slavitt. The voice you just heard was Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA. They ran a very interesting experiment that we’ll hear about on this show. And that experiment should be encouraging because I think it should show us that with the right planning, you can actually exist in a safe way and open things up. But you have to plan for it, and that’s what they did, and it’s something called In the Bubble, funny enough. Let’s stop and take stock a little bit. We have made it through the middle of August.
[01:43] Andy Slavitt: We’re about maybe not quite six months into the pandemic. You know, things started kind of really being visible in March. We had horrible losses in April. The country opened up in May and really let its guard down. The federal government stopped doing the work we all needed and would need to be ready in the fall. June, cases started to hit in the south. July, we started to see the death rate climb again to the point where here we are in August, 170,000 Americans have lost their lives. There’s been over five million cases of coronavirus, and for many people it doesn’t feel like there’s an end in sight. And through it all, you have been going through whatever you’ve been going through. Challenges, I’m sure. I know this year has not looked like or felt like what you wanted to when we entered the year, whether you’re an essential worker, whether you know people who have lost their jobs, whether you have family members who you’ve lost, whether you’ve been sick, whether you’ve just been scared, whether you’ve had anxiety or depression, whether or not you have missed people in your lives. I’m sure all of those things are true for many folks. And hopefully you’ve had some good moments, too, some positive moments. Maybe there are learnings that you learned about yourself. Maybe you’ve learned some things about the country. Some were good, some are bad. But, you know, when we started this show — our first episode was April 1st — we’ve now, believe it or not, put out 42 episodes counting today, both proud of the work we’ve done, but also really grateful to be able to talk to all of you. And I’ve said it so much, I’m tired of hearing myself say that we are trying to bring an ethic that has kind of a combination of Winston Churchill and Fred Rogers. And I realize I say that as much because I admire those two people, and because they remind us that in times of crisis, there is strength, there is help, there is leadership, and it emerges from all kinds of places.
[04:01] Andy Slavitt: And today’s episode will be a different because it is really about leadership that is coming from some unusual places. It’s with somebody that I admire, Steve Kerr, who is a basketball coach with the Golden State Warriors. If that turns you off because you’re not a sports fan, I would also want you to just at least hear the beginning of the conversation where you hear about Steve’s very unusual biography and very tragic part of his life and how that’s colored him. And, you know, in some ways, Steve is in the tradition of Muhammad Ali and Bill Walton and other sports figures who speaks up for what he believes in. He’s also going to talk about something else that I think is critical to this moment, which is what leaders can model. The NBA is modeling the bubble, and they’re modeling some other things. Actually Zach, why don’t you talk about one of those things.
[05:08] Zach Slavitt: The FDA approved SalivaDirect’s saliva based COVID-19 test, and this was developed by Yale, and the NBA’s tests over the last couple of months. And basically, the test is considered to be somewhere around 90 percent accurate, and takes about 30 minutes at first, and potentially faster eventually, I think. And it’s going to cost somewhere around ten dollars. I think the biggest question is when we’ll just pretty much anybody be able to get one of these whenever they want?
[05:47] Andy Slavitt: Yeah, I think what’s interesting is what Yale and the NBA did — and I was fortunate enough to be involved with it — is they did this on an open-source basis, which means instead of baking a bunch of pizzas that people had to stand in line for and that you could run out of ingredients, they basically just created a pizza recipe that they got approved, and said, you can use whatever ingredients you want as long as they work. So that it may take a little longer to get through those labs and the process, but it means any lab in the country will be able to offer this test. And because ingredients are cheap and they’re interchangeable, you don’t run into the same kind of supply chain issues. And then, of course, you know, you just have to think of a tasty food and then spit into a test tube, and it gets sent away and you can get the results more quickly. What’s nice about it is you can do it much more frequently, because a $10 test versus $100 test, we’re now on the road to being able to get back to being able to get tested whenever we want to, and to a more normal life. We’re actually going to have a whole episode, a toolkit episode, on how testing is going to change things and what’s coming. But that’ll be in a few weeks.
[06:56] Zach Slavitt: You said we’re on the road, but when do you think that happens?
[07:00] Andy Slavitt: Well, I think it’s going to come in stages. Right now, we have these big, huge, expensive tests and they’re really well designed for people who are sick. But we need two more types of tests. This is one of them. This is a test largely designed for people who are asymptomatic. So you can test 100 people in an NBA area or 500 people in a school. And it can be done very cheaply and you get the results very quickly. There’s a third type of test that we need, and that’s a more of a paper-based home based test, which will not be as accurate, but be very cheap and people can do it themselves. That third type of test, you know, we’re still a couple months away from.
[07:40] Andy Slavitt: Now, let’s get to Steve Kerr. He is a former NBA basketball player with the Chicago Bulls. He is the Golden State Warriors’ head coach in the NBA and he’s become an outspoken advocate for social justice. I want to get to some of the things going on in the NBA right now because they are such an interesting kind of role that the NBA has been playing in the pandemic. But let me just start by introducing you a little bit better to folks who don’t know you, which is hard for me to imagine because, you know, you’ve been a household name in my life since you started playing basketball. But you’ve had a very interesting and storied life with also a little bit of a sadness in it, too, for people who don’t know. Can you give us a couple of minutes on where and how you grew up, and people can just tell you a little bit better.
[08:39] Steve Kerr: Sure. Yeah, I guess I’m well known in basketball circles, but not really in other circles. So that makes perfect sense. Just to give any listeners who are not familiar with my story a little background. I’m coach of the Golden State Warriors. I played in the NBA for 15 years. I grew up in Los Angeles. My dad was a professor at UCLA, and he was a professor of Middle East history and politics. And so we spent a lot of time in the Middle East. I was actually born in Beirut where my dad grew up and went to graduate school and met my mom. My mom was on her junior year abroad from Occidental College. That’s where they met. And so we have a long family history in Beirut that I won’t go into. But for the most part, I spent my childhood in Los Angeles as a big UCLA basketball fan, which was a great time to be a UCLA fan because those were the John Wooden years, you know, during the dominance of that program. So that’s where I fell in love with basketball. And my family was very academically minded. I’m the only person in my family who went into sports. But, you know, I’ve got three siblings and two of them are PhDs and the other one’s an MBA.Everybody is doing great. And but we we were hit with the devastation of losing our dad to terrorism in 1984. He was the president of the American University of Beirut. He left his job at UCLA and took that job in Beirut, which was his dream job since he was a young student. And he was assassinated by two gunmen outside of his office. It was kind of the early stages of Middle East terrorism against Americans. And that obviously changed our lives forever and has served as kind of a backdrop in many ways for my story and my own evolution as a person and as a coach and as a human being. So even though I’m mainly a basketball coach, I mean, that’s my job, and I’m mainly interested in basketball, I do have a real interest in world events and politics. And I have been relatively outspoken about certain things here and there, sometimes controversially. And here we are. And somehow I got an invitation to your podcast.
[11:23] Andy Slavitt: Well, you know, you and I are about the same age. I think you were born in, what, ‘65? And I was born in ‘66. I lost my dad when he was pretty pretty young, too. I just know how colored you are by thinking about carrying on the legacy of someone you admire so deeply. This was like a couple of years ago, you probably passed the age he was when he passed away. Was that an event for you? I mean, did that register for you? Do you think about how your life kind of carries on some of the things that he started?
[12:00] Steve Kerr: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I think the biggest thing is just remembering his voice and his mannerisms and the way he carried himself and recognizing a lot of those things in my siblings and myself. And so you understand going through something like this, and obviously everybody does at some point. We all go through loss. We all go through death in our families. It’s just a question of when. But I think it’s apparent to all of us that when you love someone who has had such a huge impact on your life, that person’s legacy carries on in you forever. And so that’s a very comforting thought, actually, for me. And when I read stories about my dad or someone tells me a story, it’s really nice. Even though there are a lot of painful memories, there are a lot of lot of great memories, too.
[13:04] Andy Slavitt: Yeah. People who haven’t lost a parent yet don’t appreciate how much, at least for me lately, a lot of us actually like to be reminded and have the conversation and to keep the memory alive and to have those thoughts. I decided actually, instead of reading up, I knew who I know quite a bit about to just read about your dad as much as I could over the last couple of days. An amazing person and amazing legacy that you’re carrying on.
[13:30] Steve Kerr: Thank you. Last week, Tom Friedman wrote a column in The New York Times about kind of the current state of affairs in American politics. And the opening paragraph recounted a story of Tom being at the dinner table with my dad in Beirut in 1983, 1982. And the story kind of captured my dad’s humor and some of his wit and the way he looked at the world and kind of poked fun at things. And I read Tom Friedman’s columns all the time because I think he’s great and he has just an incredible knowledge of the Middle East and a great perspective. And I had no idea that this article mentioned my dad until I opened it up and there it was. And it sent shockwaves through my body. But it was really heartwarming to read that story just randomly about my dad.
[14:37] Andy Slavitt: That’s great. Well, may his name get said over and over and over again. And I can’t imagine how you would feel about you and what you have accomplished. Not just you know, you talked about the fact that you are a basketball coach and former player, but you left out a couple of details, like having one of the league records for — which only 10 people in the world have the record for three point shooting. And you have left out the fact that you have more championship rings than just about anybody since ‘60s and the Celtics. And we’re part of some really phenomenal teams. But not just that, I think, you know, we look at sport as sometimes it’s a distraction for us. It’s an event. It has some importance, but it’s sort of — you’re not always clear what role it plays in society. And in some cases, particularly when you’ve got leagues that don’t set great examples. But the NBA has developed a couple of interesting attributes, and I’m wondering if you can reflect on for us. One is that you seem to have embraced racial justice in a more overt in a more clear way. Second is, there are characters in our history, going back to Muhammad Ali, that carry over to people like Bill Walton and LeBron James and yourself, who I put very much in this category of people who won’t be quiet when you see injustice. So I’m curious if you can reflect on is that a purposeful, natural fit with who the NBA is and who the NBA wants to be? Is that an uncomfortable fit?
[16:15] Steve Kerr: I think it’s a very comfortable fit, given the NBA management and ownership has always been extremely supportive of its players. And that began really with David Stern years ago, and it’s continued with Adam Silver, the current commissioner. But there was always a sense of collaboration. And we had our share of, you know, union labor disputes and there were a couple lockouts and things like that. But there was always a sense of unity within the NBA. It’s also, you know, a very urban game. I believe 80 percent of the players in the NBA are black. So you have the sort of dynamics that are in place where you’ve got a fan base that appreciates the beauty of the game, appreciates and has always appreciated the access to the players. You know, unlike other sports, our players are out front and center. And no other sport can you see the emotion right in front of you. You know, no helmets, no face masks. And so all of these things, you put everything combined and you see the incredible athleticism and the beauty of the sport. And I think it’s very natural for the NBA to have come to this place where we are right now as a country and where the league is in the fight for social justice.
[21:41] Andy Slavitt: So how do you see your role in all of this and in the NBA? On the one hand, you’re a coach, so you’re the guy on the bench who’s in charge, although increasingly with some of these players, it’s not always clear whether the coach is in charge anymore. But also, you know, you’re white. As you said, you’re one of the 20 percent. So you’re an ally to both your players and to other coaches and other people of color throughout the league. And yet you’ve taken to, I think, this role which says we can’t — I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but we can’t leave it to people to fight their own battles without support, without other people fighting their battles and seeing the world through their eyes.
[22:21] Steve Kerr: Yeah. I just think that it’s important for those of us who have a platform and who see things that are wrong in our society, things that we can do better in our country, it’s important for us to speak up. You know, in a democracy that’s our right, you know, the right of free speech. But it’s more than that, it’s the only way we can really achieve any success long-term is to call attention to these things. I’ve read a lot about different coaches in basketball history, and one of the guys I love is Dean Smith. I only met him a couple of times, played against him when I was at Arizona and he was coaching North Carolina. But, you know, he very famously stood up for his black players in his early days at North Carolina, I believe, in the ‘60s, where they went to the South, the hotel wouldn’t allow the black players to stay in that hotel. He was the first one of the first coaches really to put up a big fight and say, no, this is not right and we’re not coming here anymore. We’re not playing here anymore. They would literally leave and stay at a different hotel or cancel the game, whatever he felt was necessary. And that helped the process along. And I just think it’s important for any of us who have a platform to — if we see something, it’s important to call it out and to try to continue this incremental progress that we can make.
[24:02] Andy Slavitt: Through the league is there any side-eye when Steve Kerr puts a tweet out which says, hey, I think this is wrong, I think it’s wrong that Americans are being deprived of the right to vote in certain places, or supporting Black Lives Matter. Are there people who say, you know, God, Steve, stick to basketball, what are you doing here? Or is it now at a point where it is becoming part of the brand of the league?
[24:29] Steve Kerr: The world that we live in, of course there are people who are going to express their displeasure. The people who I know, the people who I work with, everybody is very supportive. But, you know, this is — we could get into a much deeper conversation. You know, this is largely what is wrong with social media, it encourages this sort of non-confrontational insulting that goes back and forth. And things that you would never say face to face, you just feel really comfortable typing behind the, you know, your keyboard, your phone. And it’s really unhealthy. And the reality is, the only way you can accomplish anything in life is through collaboration. You know, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish, you’ve got to be able to work through problems. Actually having people with different viewpoints is a very healthy thing as long as you go through the process and you kind of understand each other’s points of views and and you come to a good conclusion. That’s a sort of a normal way of working through a problem. But our current state of affairs doesn’t really allow us to ever get to that point.
[25:42] Andy Slavitt: Yeah, well, I would give you a little bit of feedback, which I hope you’ve heard before, but I have witnessed kids who feel a little braver and a little more comfortable being able to do the right thing, looking out for teammates or others who are getting some level of discrimination. And it’s like, oh, Steve Kerr speaks out. And, you know, I think there’s a football player in the NFL named Chris Long, who I think also, you know, for those who don’t know, he took a knee alongside some of the NFL players. He’s a white player. And by doing that, by taking the stand that I’ve seen you take, I have literally seen younger people feel like they can do that.
[26:28] Steve Kerr: That’s nice to know. And I think I do feel that. And I know that at some level because otherwise I would probably just stop tweeting. And there are many days where I think, you know, maybe I should just give up this Twitter stuff. And then I always come back around to I can’t. I can’t. I have to speak the truth. That’s really what is I think at the core of a lot of people’s angst is this assault on the truth. This assault on facts that we’re hearing from our president’s mouth every day and from a large portion of our population. Just the truth has to matter. The facts have to matter. And so I think it’s important for people to learn to speak their mind.
[27:22] Andy Slavitt: Yeah. If I told you a year ago that, you know, we’d have lost 160,000 Americans, that we’d be in the middle of an election where there’d be very active, above the surface efforts to prevent people from being able to vote, with such a tremendous sense of loss, people not feeling like there’s anyone taking accountability. And a part of why I wanted to have you on the show is a lot of the questions people ask is where’s leadership going to come from? Because I can’t do this on my own. There’s a lot of things I could do about. People want me to bootstrap. I’ll do the best I can. There’s a global pandemic. How the hell do I bootstrap my way through that? And they’re trying to take away my right to vote. And the blatant injustices are just right in my face.
[28:10] Steve Kerr: Yeah, well, it’s a great question. And we definitely all hope that leadership will emerge in Washington and that people will be looked after with a safety net that is so desperately needed right now in terms of having enough money to pay your rent and buy food and have healthcare. Just the basics just to get, you know, first to get people through this time, but then to hopefully create some change in this country that was already needed before any of this started. So the hope is maybe some of that would come through an election. But, you know, short of that, I think it’s probably important to look at other other people, you know, whether it’s a teacher or a coach. Local government, I think, is really important. Sometimes, you know, people get lost in the shuffle. Everyone gets so wrapped up in national politics. But local politics really impacts your own community more than national politics, too. And, you know, the community that you’re in, there are leaders within those communities. And it’s important to engage with each other, to sort of try to lift each other up, and lift those leaders up to positions where they can actually get some things done.
[29:37] Andy Slavitt: So let’s talk about the recent events in the NBA. So from your view, you were going through leading the team through an uncharacteristically not so great season. You had won gobs and gobs of championships and this was probably not going to be the year. And then all of a sudden, Rudy Gobert, a player in the league, gets diagnosed with coronavirus, and a few days later, the league announces that it’s suspending its season. You talk about how that hit you. Were you surprised? What was the buzz? What were the players saying?
[30:11] Steve Kerr: Yeah, I mean, this was a strange season for us anyway. We had a ton of injuries, and Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, our two guards, both missed the entire season. Two of the best players in the NBA. And at the time of the suspension in March, we had the worst record in the NBA. So it was a tough, tough go as it was. But when word of the pandemic came about, you know, kind of in January — actually, my son was the first one to really alert me of the potential of the devastation. He has a master’s in public health. He said, you know, this could be a real problem. And I said, you know, we took care of SARS. We took care of, you know, H1N1 and, you know, we’ll get through this. He said no. You know, he took a couple of classes in pandemics and he said, if it gets out of control, it could really, really mess the world up. And all of a sudden, as you said, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz gets sick, and Adam Silver, the commissioner, suspends the league. Everything stops. And we’re all just kind of sitting there like, what the hell just happened? And it all just hit so quickly because even though we kind of knew, we were all reading about this potential, that’s when it hit home. That’s when it really hit home, that it was real.
[34:14] Andy Slavitt: The NBA has created a bubble. And in many respects, I think the NBA took the view that we can be a microcosm for how to live with this virus, not just freeze our life. You spent a bunch of time, created a bunch of protocols, which I was actually involved with some of the creation of, to say, what if we show we could do this? And maybe there’s some lessons here and some examples here and that can be mirrored in schools and they could be mirrored in universities and other places, to show that you can live with this virus if you’re very, very careful and adopt some strategies. And then this week, the NBA, in working with Yale, announced a brand new, very low cost, very quick test that the NBA players’ union and the NBA helped to pay for and designed the protocol. Those could be enormous contributions from how a sport contributes to society.
[35:29] Steve Kerr: Yeah. They could be. And I don’t want to give the impression that this effort was, you know, this altruistic, you know, endeavor just to save the world. I mean, the NBA is a huge business. And, you know, so the first part of this is, you know, how can we keep the season going so that we can actually generate the revenue that is needed to pay the bills, and pay the players and, you know, get games on TV? So the owners and the league management put their heads together at the very beginning — and I was not on these calls. I mean, coaches are not on these calls — but general managers are. And our general manager, Bob Meyers, shared a lot of thoughts about what was happening. And it just seemed like this gargantuan task to try to go from March 12 when the suspension happened until I guess July 28, when the games started again. The amount of work that went into putting together this bubble, the amount of detail was incredible. And I heard you mention you were part of the process, and it’s been an amazing success story. I mean, they haven’t had a single positive case. And I think in putting this bubble together and in looking at all the details and being really resilient and forceful in the implementation of all the regulations, the league has shown people what’s possible, for sure. It’s something that we’re all very proud of. Having said that, nobody wants to do a nine month season in a bubble next next year, you know, but for the time being, this is a really great thing that the league has done.
[37:20] Andy Slavitt: Robby Sikka, who is a Timberwolves V.P. of performance, literally was up 24 by seven, working across the league to create a test that could be taken. There was an easy way to do it for the league and there was a way to do it that was a little bit harder for the league, but better for everybody else. I think with the full cooperation of the league, he chose that path. And that path is going to essentially mean that we’re going to have a four or five dollar test that people can take using saliva because the league players just decided to do that. I believe when the history of this era is written, there’ll be some interesting bookends that the NBA will be very much a part of, both what happened with Rudy Gobert, which turned out to be an incredible blessing, as kind of crazy as that moment was, the fact that the league shut down when it did and it got everybody else to pay attention, so many lives were saved. And then here, I think the NBA has given parts of society a map for how to come out of this thing, how to live through this thing. And I think it’s a fascinating way to think about a sports league.
[38:27] Steve Kerr: Yeah. And as I said, it’s something that we’re really proud of, you know, because this whole thing has been so confusing. If you’re just, you know, a normal guy just trying to take care of your family and keep everybody safe and healthy, the amount of conflicting advice and information has been so overwhelming. And so it’s been really nice to just see the NBA kind of just be really straightforward and say, here’s what we’re doing and here’s why, and here’s who we’re partnering with, and this is what we believe. And then they go ahead and they do it. And there’s a few stragglers. A couple of guys, you know, broke the bubble rule, and then they had to re-quarantine. And here we are past — I guess we’re about six weeks into the bubble without a single case. And so there’s no question, it’s proof of what’s possible and what can happen if we put our minds to it in other ways, in other areas, whether it’s school, businesses, whatever.
[39:35] Andy Slavitt: Yeah. Look, the goal is not zero cases. The goal is not eradication. I mean, just like the goal is not zero heart attacks or zero knee injuries. But what you want to do is you want to prevent one from becoming a thousand, and with an infectious disease, if you can wrap your arms around it — whether it’s because people are in a geographic area that’s enclosed, or because you’re testing every day and you’re not in the geographic area that’s enclosed, but you’ll catch it before you go, oh, wow. That happened to me 10 days ago and I was around 10,000 people. So the individual case here and there, I want people to see that as a failure, but as a success. And the way countries around the world measure this is what percentage of cases happen where you are the terminal person. Not terminal as in dead. But when you are the terminal case. In other words, you don’t pass it along to anybody else. And in the U.S., we don’t even measure that number, but it’s probably about two to three percent. In the rest of the world, in Europe, it’s 75, 80 percent. Because you catch the case and you say, got it. We’re going to isolate you and we’re gonna take care of you.
[40:46] Steve Kerr: And that’s because we’re not doing the contact tracing? Is it because we’re not testing as much as well? Because that’s one thing that we always hear is how much testing we’re now doing. I mean, according to our president. So that’s my question for you. Is our testing now up to speed? And if so, then where are we going wrong?
[41:11] Andy Slavitt: It’s not. Right now, we’re doing a lot more tests than we used to do, but unfortunately, cases grew much faster, and so the labs plateaued. So we estimate there are probably 10 times as many cases per day as get tests. And right now, most labs around the country have seven or eight days turnaround time. And Steve, if you had a seven or eight day turnaround time, it’s like, I’ll tell you the outcome of the game in eight days. Does you no good to find out eight days later. So in many respects, we have no visibility into this. It also is contact tracing. Testing somebody is one thing, but if you can’t contact trace and isolate people, that doesn’t do you any good. But all of this comes down to there has really been no national effort and no national strategy here like there have been in other countries. And this is work. It’s like everything else. It takes work. You’ve got to put in the work. You can’t just snap your fingers and say this is going to happen.
[42:06] Andy Slavitt: So I don’t want to take too much advantage of your time. We’ll let you go. But I have to ask you this. I’m sure you have these questions a thousand times. But Bulls in the league today, ‘90s Bulls, you’re on the team playing the Warriors of last year or the year before. How does it go?
[42:26] Steve Kerr: I have been asked this a lot. I mean, I would say that it would be interesting coaching against myself, number one. If Kerr the player were on the floor, I would definitely make him guard Steph Curry in a pick and roll, because he’d have no chance. The unique thing about those Bulls teams to me is that we were built to actually play the modern game. The game is very different today. There’s very few low-post big guys. You know, back then you had the, you know, the aircraft carrier guys down low, you know, Shaq and Patrick Ewing and David Robinson and Tim Duncan. And now it’s like almost all guards. And the rules are different, too. But those Bulls teams, we had certain lineups — that did not include me, by the way — but if you had Ron Harper, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman, that’s a modern lineup. And that would have been an incredible modern NBA basketball team. So, yeah, that would have been fun to watch.
[43:45] Andy Slavitt: Which of you loved more: coaching or playing?
[43:49] Steve Kerr: You know, there’s nothing like playing. I mean, playing is the ultimate because, you know, that’s what as a kid at seven years old, you don’t dream of being on the sidelines coaching a team. You dream of making the shot that wins the game and you shoot that shot in your driveway over and over again. I was fortunate enough to actually do that. That was a thrill. The difference when I was a kid, if I missed that shot in my driveway, you know what I would do? I would pretend that I got fouled. And then I would get two free throws. So I didn’t have that luxury this time. But I think playing is the ultimate, but coaching is the next best thing. And I really enjoy it.
[44:47] Andy Slavitt: Thank you, Steve. Really appreciate it.
[44:49] Steve Kerr: Andy, thank you. I really enjoyed it.
[44:57] Andy Slavitt: All right. There’s more with Steve Kerr, but it’s about basketball, and I’m guessing there’s better basketball podcasts than In the Bubble. Although I doubt it. But we couldn’t resist. I know that’s not why you listen us. But if you want to listen to a really great short conversation on basketball with Zach and Steve Kerr, we’ll have it on Patreon.
[45:28] Andy Slavitt: Let me tell you what’s coming up next week. On Monday, we have our episode on the Republicans at the start of their convention. If you haven’t heard the episode we just recorded on Monday on the Democrats. This is really talking about what are we going to see at the Republican convention and how might the reelection of Donald Trump impact the management of the coronavirus? Yes, something we should talk about. We’re going to talk about it with Bill Kristol, who is an incredible commentator, publisher, voice you’ve all heard before. And who is a critic of President Trump’s. And it’s a very interesting interview. After that, we are going to have a conversation with Brian Cashman next Wednesday, so tune in for that. That is more an example of how we are managing the virus not so well at the moment. And then our schools toolkit by very popular demand as school starts in many places, both in person and online. We have Janice Jackson, the superintendent of the Chicago school district, and John King, the former secretary of education. Look forward to talking to you then. Thanks.
[46:59] Andy Slavitt: Thanks for listening In the Bubble. Hope you rate us highly. We are a production of Lemonada Media. Kryssy Pease is our producer. Ivan Kuraev is our editor. Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs executive produce the show and run our lives. My son Zach Slavitt is my cool co-host and onsite producer. Music is by Dan Molad and Oliver Hill. You can find out more about our show on social media @LemonadaMedia. And you can find me at a @ASlavitt on Twitter or @AndySlavitt on Instagram. If you liked what you heard today, please, please, please tell your friends to come listen, but from a distance. And for now, stay safe. Share some joy. And we will get through this together. And #StayHome.