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Soaring With Brad Stevens and Steve Kerr


Before the Boston Celtics came from a whopping 17 points behind to defeat the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors and add a 14th game to their record-breaking winning streak on November 16th, the teams’ coaches Brad Stevens and Steve Kerr, took the unusual step of taking time out of their game day preparations to get together to support Positive Coaching Alliance.

Stevens and Kerr are both members of PCA’s National Advisory Board and share PCA’s commitment to developing Better Athletes, Better People through sports done right. Before a select audience of PCA Board members, Celtics owners, and their guests on November 16th, Stevens and Kerr engaged in a very special “Respect Your Rival” conversation talking about their approaches to coaching, preparing for big games—like the one scheduled for that evening, and their advice for coaches and parents of young athletes.

The audience included PCA supporters from coast to coast, including Matt Hasselbeck, Steve Pagliuca, Isaiah Kacyvenski, and two dozen other sports and business leaders, plus the winner of PCA’s Omaze contest, Boston College student, Moses Hsiao.

Hsiao’s $25 donation to PCA via Omaze landed him in this coach conversation, at center court for a pregame photo, and in seats 5 rows behind the Warriors’ bench.

Opening the evening was Steve Pagliuca, Managing Director of Bain Capital, Managing Partner of the Boston Celtics, and the Chairman of the Celtics Shamrock Foundation, a longtime supporter of PCA in New England. Pagliuca spoke about the importance of a coach’s role in developing talent and earning success, and shared how the Celtics’ chose to hire Brad Stevens, saying that Danny Ainge’s list was Brad Stevens, Brad Stevens, or Brad Stevens.

Pagliuca also talked about his respect for Steve Kerr. Pagliuca praised PCA, and shared that PCA “gives coaches the tools to put coaching in the right perspective and make sure they’re developing the young talent.”

For more on Pagliuca’s remarks, click here.

Facilitating the conversation was WBZ-TV/CBSBoston anchor David Wade, coach of the 4-year old blue team in the Needham YMCA youth basketball program. Wade spoke to Stevens, then both coaches together, and then Kerr, in a lively conversation which had both coaches grinning before game time.

Here are a few highlights from the coaches:

From Brad Stevens:

  • “I am not effective when I am angry”
  • “I coach with a tone of positivity, but that does not mean there is no criticism or that I am not demanding”
  • “Everybody is in the NBA for a reason, they have a special talent, a special ability, sometimes people get put in a box of what they can’t do instead of focusing on what they can do, rather than what they cannot do, our jobs are to take the 15 guys on the team and help them soar with what they do best
  • My advice to younger coaches” “Be Yourself.  Coach to your personality.”
  • Click here for more of Brad’s comments.​

From Steve Kerr:

  • On his core values of joy, mindfulness, compassion, and competition: “Every day has to reflect your core values.”
  • On motivating players: “The more your [starters] play well, the more you can play the rookies, the guys who don’t get a chance as often, and I use that as motivation as well.”
  • On PCA and being a positive coach: “Phil [Jackson] and [Greg] Pop[ovich] were nuanced, cultured, fun, compassionate, and tough all in one, I saw first-hand how powerful that was.  So that’s how I wanted to coach.”
  • On tonight’s game: “It’s Boston, this is always one of the great stops on the tour of the NBA because of the crowd, because of the history.  Feels different cause they are the best team in the league right now, feels different because maybe we could see them down the road.”
  • Advice to parents:  “I developed better and had more fun because my parents never tried to fight a battle for me with a coach. . . . I’d like to see more parents just let their kid develop and figure it out on their own, it’s a much better way to learn.”

What an incredible evening. Special thanks from PCA to Brad Stevens and the Celtics and Steve Kerr and the Warriors for supporting PCA’s efforts to develop Better Athletes, Better People everywhere kids play basketball, or any sport. 

PCA welcomes contributions to help do more to bring the message of top coaches like Brad Stevens and Steve Kerr to young athletes, their coaches, and parents.

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Paul-Yung Hsiao donated $25 through Omaze to win this amazing experience with both coaches

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