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Overstepping

You can’t be more sanctimonious than Steve Kerr lecturing the Celtics’ Marcus Smart after accidentally injuring Steph Curry

March 17, 2022

During a Wednesday night basketball game between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics, there was a basketball play. Go figure. Midway through the second quarter, Steph Curry and Marcus Smart both went for a loose ball. Curry stayed on his feet and Smart dove, rolling up on Curry’s left ankle. Curry left the game with the injury and did not return. With less than a month to go until the start of the NBA Playoffs, this is a big deal, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr made sure Smart heard all about it just how big of deal it was after the play. You can see the play, and subsequent exchange, below.

As amateur lip readers have pointed out, Kerr appeared to be shouting “you were trying to hurt him!” as referees sorted out the mess.

Thing is, the mess was of Kerr’s making. This isn’t college. Nor is it some holier-than-thou USA Basketball setup where Kerr has formerly coached Smart. Smart isn’t a kid and you can’t lecture him about right and wrong in the middle of a basketball game, and you especially can’t do it WHEN HE’S NOT EVEN YOUR PLAYER. If we were Celtics coach Ime Udoka, we would have HOT about this. To his credit though, he kept his cool as Kerr berated his player for a routine play, saying only this after the game.

At this point it’s probably worth noting that this isn’t the first time Kerr has chided another team’s player, scolding 19-year league Vince Carter in 2018 for accidentally undercutting the Warriors’ Patrick McCaw, leading to significant injury. “I’m not mad at you!” Kerr could be seen telling the referee well within earshot of a distraught Carter. “I’m mad at Vince. He knows better.”

There’s a lot to like about Kerr as a coach and overall person, but this ain’t it. First of all, neither play was intentionally dirty, especially not Smart’s. (Kerr would be praising Draymond Green for the hustle should the shoe have been on the other foot.) Second, even if it were a dirty play, you can’t go around coaching the other teams’ guys ... unless you want to become known as the other Coach K, that is.