How Steve Kerr incorporates Dennis Rodman credo as Warriors coach

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  • Dennis Rodman
    Dennis Rodman
    Retired American basketball player
  • Steve Kerr
    Steve Kerr
    American basketball player and coach
  • Klay Thompson
    Klay Thompson
    American basketball player

In a recent episode of ESPN's "The Last Dance," former Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman gave a poignant reason for NBA players' massive salaries.

"I'll play the game for free, but you get paid for the bulls--t."

The statement was a frequent message, according to Rodman's former teammate and current Warriors coach Steve Kerr. Rodman's words left such an impression on Kerr that frequently used them as the Warriors appeared in five straight NBA Finals and won three.

"I used that same line with our Warriors team all the time," Kerr said on the "Runnin' Plays" podcast earlier this week. "And I tell them, "The main reason you get paid is not because you get to play basketball, it's because you get traded, and cut, and booed and injured. And there's a lot of difficulty that comes with all the great stuff."

Kerr -- who played alongside Rodman, Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan during his five seasons in Chicago -- has seen his share of drama.

As the Warriors' coach, Kerr has been tasked with managing the unique personalities of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant. Rodman's credo was shown early in Durant's final season with Golden State, when Green got into a heated sideline argument with Durant. Their confrontation quickly became an off-court storyline and Durant admitted it played a role in him leaving the Warriors for the Brooklyn Nets in free agency.

The Warriors were two wins away from a fourth title in five years despite the drama, but significant injuries to Durant, Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins ultimately proved to be too much to overcome. All the while, Kerr continued to preach Rodman's message.

"I think the way we approach it as a staff, is we try to talk about keeping things in perspective," Kerr said. "One of the things we talk about every year is we would all basically play basketball for free because that's what we've done our whole lives. And so I never feel like any of us get paid to play or coach basketball."

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The Warriors weren't close to contending this season, posting an NBA-worst 15-50 record before the season's suspension due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). But a healthy Curry, Thompson and Green will have something to say about that next season, and they'll be relied upon to help Golden State's young role players navigate the bulls--t Rodman spoke of.

"It's really an issue for everybody in modern life, not just NBA basketball players," Kerr said. "All young people, I think, have to live in this spotlight that social media has put on everyone. And it's difficult, it's not easy."

How Steve Kerr incorporates Dennis Rodman credo as Warriors coach originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area