Dating back to his days at USC and continuing in Seattle, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has used special guests in meetings and practices, sometimes in order to give his players the chance to learn from people who have achieved big things in sports or other fields, and sometimes just to spice things up and provide entertainment.
And with offseason workouts being replaced by virtual team meetings this spring because of the COVID-19 crisis, Carroll is still using his connections to bring special guests into meetings, albeit virtually. Last month, actor Will Ferrell joined a meeting pretending to be tight end Greg Olsen, and this week Carroll brought in Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.
Kerr and Carroll have been friends dating back to when Carroll invited Kerr to attend Seahawks practices and meetings early in his Warriors coaching career—several Warriors players have also been guests in recent years—and the two have recently launched a podcast called "Flying Coach" that, in addition to being entertaining and informative, has also raised money for COVID-19 relief.
While the NBA is shut down like just about every other sport, Kerr has been a visible figure of late because of his role on the 1990s Chicago Bulls teams that are featured in the 10-part ESPN documentary "The Last Dance."
Most notably, Kerr hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1997 NBA Finals to give the Bulls their fifth championship, a shot Michael Jordan knew would be available because of the way Utah guard John Stockton had double-teamed him earlier in the series in a similar late-game situation.
Carroll asked Kerr about that shot, to which he replied, "It was obviously (Jordan's) call. He told me—he kind of predicted the play, because he knew what was coming. He was so smart, he always kind of pictured the play in his head, so he just turned to me and said, 'I think Stockton is going to double-team, so be ready.'… I kind of lied and told him I was going to make it. I had no idea if I was going to make it."
Carroll told Kerr that players like Jordan and Kobe Bryant are frequent examples for him and his coaching staff because of the kind of competitors they were, and Kerr confirmed that based on his own first-hand experience, Jordan was the type of competitor Carroll would have loved.
"He was incredible to compete against in practice," Kerr said. "He set a bar that I've never seen anybody set in terms of the level of competition every day… He treated (scrimmaging) like it was a playoff game. Winning and competing mattered so much to the guy, and I think it set a standard for our whole team every day."
Linebacker Bruce Irvin mentioned Kerr's virtual visit during a video press conference on Tuesday, and noted it was just one example of how Carroll keeps things interesting for players.
"That's what Pete does," Irvin said, "I met Snoop Dogg, Drake, Bill Russell. Man, we've met so many people. That's what he does. He's a player's coach, he always keeps it interesting. You want to go to work. Some people get up and be like, 'Damn, I gotta do eight hours again today.' But with the Seahawks, it's like, 'Man, I know there's going to be something interesting today.' You want to go to work. That's really big, man, that's really big."
The NBA's Golden State Warriors visited Seahawks headquarters on Friday, October 5 ahead of their preseason game against the Sacramento Kings at Seattle's Key Arena. Warriors players Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson squared off against Seahawks receiver Tyler Lockett in a shooting competition and Golden State head coach Steve Kerr and Seattle head coach Pete Carroll faced off as well. Lockett and Carroll came away victorious to defend the Seahawks' home turf.