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Seahawks wide receiver Bryan Walters bests NBA champion Steve Kerr in hoops shootout
It's not every day you find yourself in a shootout against a five-time NBA champion.
But that's exactly how Wednesday started for Seahawks wide receiver Bryan Walters, who matched up against 15-year NBA veteran shooting guard - and current head coach of the Golden State Warriors - Steve Kerr in a friendly hoops face-off during Seattle's team meeting prior to their fifth practice of training camp.
"He's one of the all-time great shooters," said Walters, a point guard in his playing days at Kirkland's Juanita High. "I never would have guessed I would ever have the opportunity to face off against one of the greatest shooters of all-time."
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll often likes to get his team's morning meetings started with a little competition - fitting for an NFL program that's been built around the word.
Carroll will call out players to line up from just beyond an imaginary free-throw line and have them do their best to knock down as many shots as possible in a 30-second span on a recreational hoop situated inside Virginia Mason Athletic Center's main auditorium.
"I was more nervous for that moment than I was when I played in the NBA." said Kerr, who was on hand to soak in Carroll's coaching philosophy in advance of his first season as Warriors head coach. "It was so cool to be amongst the Seahawks with coach Carroll calling me up. It was almost surreal.
"But I was actually nervous. It was actually fun."
Kerr, who won championship rings with the Chicago Bulls (1996-98) and San Antonio Spurs (1999 & 2003), holds the NBA record for career three-point percentage (45.4 on 726-of-1599). He would go first and knock down four shots in the allotted time. But Walters would follow up with a strong showing, nailing six shots in half a minute to best the NBA champion.
"He might have been thrown off a little bit by it," Walters said of Kerr's attempts on the not-so-regulation-sized indoor hoop. "I had shot on it before, so I had a little advantage there. But I was lucky enough to come out on top against the shooting champ.
"To take him down, does that make me one of the best shooters in NBA history?" Walters added with a laugh. "That's kind of the way I see it. To be the best you've got to beat the best."
To be the best you can also learn from the best. And that's the approach the 48-year-old Kerr was taking during his Wednesday visit to the home of the defending Super Bowl champs.
"As a young coach I just like to see people at work," said Kerr. "And Pete obviously is one of the best. He's one of the most intriguing people that I've met and that I've sort of watched over the years as a football fan.
"I'm thankful that he gave me the opportunity to come visit with him."