When Steve Kerr retired from his playing career after 16 years in the NBA and five championships, he wanted to stay in basketball, so he became part of group of buyers that put together an offer to purchase his old team, the Phoenix Suns, from Jerry Colangelo. The group ended up purchasing the team for $300 million in 2004, and Kerr would work for the team, first in a consulting role and then, a few years later, as general manager.
What Kerr could not have known at the time is that the beginning of his post-playing career in basketball would coincide with the seeds of a revolution brewing in the sport. The ownership group's first season also happened to be head coach Mike D'Antoni's first full season at the helm of the team, and D'Antoni took new free agent acquisition Steve Nash and began to fiddle with the way we thought basketball should be played. D'Antoni's speedy "Seven Seconds or Less" system pushed offenses to paces we'd never seen. With Nash spearheading the run-and-gun, pick-and-roll-heavy offense, the Suns — who'd ranked 16th in the NBA in 3-point attempts the season before, averaging 14.7 per game — ranked first in the NBA, averaging 24.7 3s per game, two and a half more than the next team.
D'Antoni, Kerr said recently, "was the first coach I ever saw who'd get on guys for not shooting. He pumped so much confidence into the Phoenix players, constantly just talking, shoot shoot shoot, don't worry about missing, we want to go, we want to run, get as many shots up as you can. That's why Mike is really the guy who changed our perspective on how to play."
A decade later, Kerr took a job as head coach of the Golden State Warriors. Three-pointers had increased steadily over the past decade as teams followed D'Antoni's blueprint, but Kerr's Warriors teams broke the mold, led by two of the greatest 3-point shooters of all time in Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. In Kerr's first season at the helm the Warriors took 27 3s a game, fourth in the NBA; in his second season, when the Warriors broke the NBA record for regular-season wins, they led the league in 3s.