Steve Kerr vs. Kim Jong-Un in Game of H-O-R-S-E?


It could have been the game of the millennium. Steve Kerr vs. then-newly implanted North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. If a Barack Obama advisor had convinced the then-US President in 2012, Kerr would have taken on Jong-Un in the most unlikely game of H-O-R-S-E of all time. 

According to Alex Schiffer of The Athletic, back in 2012, the U.S. was looking at ways to improve diplomatic relations with the difficult-to-read North Korean leader. The one thing they did know about him was that he was a lifelong Chicago Bulls fan.

Steve Kerr was a key member of the second Michael Jordan/Bulls three-peat. 

Marcus Noland was an advisor to President Obama, and actually pitched the unconventional, outside-the-box idea of a Kerr/Jong-Un matchup to Obama. 

“We have to work with what we’ve got,” Noland told Obama in an Oval Office meeting, according to Schiffer. “If this guy is really as big of a Chicago Bulls fan as we hear, let’s work with that, because we have nothing else to go on.” 

Obama didn't immediately blow off the idea. He himself being a basketball junkie. But eventually, his cabinet simply let the idea die. 

Now the three-time champion Golden State Warriors head coach, Kerr just found out last week about his proposed diplomatic mission. Would he have done it?

“No. No way …” Kerr laughed. “Unless President Obama himself asked me to do it. If he had asked me to do it, I would have done it.” 

Of course, one of the great ironies in all this, is that Kerr's Bulls' teammate, Dennis Rodman, has since famously become friends with the North Korean dictator. 

The irony, according to Schiffer, is not lost on Noland. “If there’s anybody on that team who kind of has a cosmopolitan world experience view it would be Steve Kerr. So I ran with it. And it didn’t go anywhere and we got Dennis Rodman…” Noland said. “I think history has vindicated me.”

Photo Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports