Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr does not think US President Donald Trump exudes the proper qualities as a leader, and thus, would not be a good model for a current NBA coach.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard about some of his biggest leadership principles, Kerr said he doesn’t think any coach could succeed in today’s NBA with a Trump-like approach.
Kerr, calling Trump a “blowhard,” explained that some old-school coaches used to lead with a Trump-like mentality, but even they had qualities that Trump lacks.
He used former Indiana coach Bobby Knight as an example.
“I think it probably could have worked 20 or 30 years ago. Think about Bobby Knight. My personal opinion is Bobby Knight is smarter than Donald Trump. Bobby Knight was brilliant in a lot of ways. So there was some real foundation in terms of knowing and coaching the game. But he was a bully, so…
“I think being a bully doesn’t work today, or at least it doesn’t work in coaching. The modern coach has to be much more communicative, flexible, aware, conscientious, all those things.
“Frankly, I think it’s why Trump couldn’t be any more ill-suited to be president, because he’s a blowhard. You don’t see some of the qualities you talk about — the resilience, the ability to communicate, the compassion. None of that. But in the old days, a lot of great coaches who maybe didn’t have those, there was still a fibre there, whatever it was. To be a great leader, there have to be some qualities in there.
“Has anyone ever thought that Trump was a great leader?”
As illustrated in Ballard’s story, Kerr exudes many of those qualities with the Warriors. One such anecdote that stands out is his insistence on telling end-of-the-bench players whether or not they will be playing in a game.
Warriors guard Ian Clark explained to Ballard the benefits of being told if he’s in the game plan or not, “Being able to hear it from your coach, rather than it just happening and not knowing why, it’s different. Your head is in a better place when you know what’s going on.”
Many in the NBA have noted the shift in coaching approaches. Coaches, as Kerr said, must be more compassionate, understanding, and communicative with players than older coaches. More and more people coming into the NBA will look to Kerr as an example. And in Kerr’s mind, that would be smarter than looking to Trump as an example.
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