'The Last Dance' Episode 9: A look at the tragic death of Steve Kerr's father Malcolm Kerr

Malcolm Kerr was instrumental in shaping Steve's early basketball days

                            'The Last Dance' Episode 9: A look at the tragic death of Steve Kerr's father Malcolm Kerr
Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson (Brian Bahr /Allsport/Getty mages)

Spoilers for 'The Last Dance' Episode 9

Michael Jordan wasn't the only Bulls star to have a tragedy that made headlines. His father, James Jordan's death was the subject of multiple conspiracy theories and that was a difficult phase in the NBA legend's life. Another player to share a similar tragedy was Steve Kerr. Kerr's family history gets some screentime in Episode 9 of 'The Last Dance'. Hailing from a family that leaned heavily towards academics, Kerr was brought up in disciplined fashion. His father, Malcolm Kerr, was also instrumental in shaping Steve's early basketball days. 

Tragedy struck the Kerrs when Malcolm was brutally shot dead in the head by two gunmen posing as students when he served as the president at the American University of Beirut. The documentary sees the player vividly recall the event. "So, I received a phone call in the middle of the night from a family friend," Kerr recalled as he started to get choked up. "My phone rang at my door at 3 o'clock in the morning, so I knew something was up and he just said 'Steve, I have terrible news.' So, yeah."

And he used the sport he loved as a distraction. "Basketball was the one thing I could do to take my mind off what happened. So I went to practice the next day. I didn't know what else to do," he said. At the time of his father's death, Kerr was a freshman at the University of Arizona. One of the questions to Kerr was if he and Jordan discussed the deaths of their fathers. "We never discussed that," Kerr said. "I think it was probably too painful for each of us."

The episode also highlights the epic moment where Kerr took one of his greatest ever shots. The fourth quarter of Game 7 of the '98 Eastern Conference Finals that tied the game.  Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller still remembered the shot like it was yesterday. "Steve Kerr hit the biggest shot of that series. To me, that's where everything went downhill for us. It changed everything." 

Breaking it down

It was Michael Jordan who missed a jump shot, but Scottie Pippen managed to pull it back for the Bulls ad found Kerr for the three-pointer. Kerr managed to put one in and that evened the score between the two teams. Tied at 77, Bulls eventually went on to win the game, which had gone till seven instead of the usual six. 

MJ's unforgettable line: "That's when Steve earned his wings". And he didn't need Red Bull for it. 

'The Last Dance' will stream shortly on  Netflix.

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