Steve Kerr has turned into one of the most well-respected coaching minds in the NBA, leading the Golden State Warriors to three championships and five NBA Finals appearances in his first seven seasons.

The Warriors coach attributes part of that to longtime mentor Gregg Popovich. The San Antonio Spurs head coach is considered one of the greatest coaches in NBA history, redefining the impact the coach can have on the game of basketball.

During his official introduction as the new head coach of Team USA, Steve Kerr made sure to credit Popovich, the man he’s replacing.

“Pop has been my mentor for many years,” said Steve Kerr on Gregg Popovich. “Having played for him for four seasons. Picked his brain over the last seven or eight years, the opportunity to work with him. I’ve learned so much not just about the game but about people, about culture. So a lot of what we do here in Golden State is based on what I learned from Pop.”

“The one thing he taught me is that you have to be yourself,” the Warriors coach continued. “You can’t try to be somebody else. You have to be yourself. As long as you’re authentic and genuine, now you can implement things that you’ve learned along the way.”

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Steve Kerr spent four of his last five NBA playing seasons in San Antonio, playing under Gregg Popovich. While he wouldn’t start coaching for another decade, being able to witness his brilliance up close during his latter years clearly made a mark that never left for Kerr. Golden State Warriors fans have nothing but gratitude for how things shook out.