Steve Kerr once was asked by rookie teammate Zach Randolph: ‘How much time do we get off for Christmas?’

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Warriors coach Steve Kerr recalled sitting on the plane with one-time Portland teammate Zach Randolph when the rookie had a question.

“How much time do we get off for Christmas?” Kerr said the Grizzlies forward once asked. “He didn’t know. He was just the sweetest, nicest kid.  He had no clue. He was so talented, and he was a joy to play with as you see now.

“What makes me really happy is just to see what he’s done in his career and the maturity. The fact that he’s gone from this kid who knew nothing about the league to being a leader not only on his team, but somebody who’s really important in the community here in Memphis, he’s really matured and grown into really a good man and a hell of a player.”

Kerr in 2012 used the Christmas anecdote while writing in Grantland to make the case for the NBA raising its age limit to 20. Randolph was 20 in his rookie season, and Kerr wrote that he was “visibly shocked and saddened” after learning the schedule didn’t include a break to go home for Christmas.

“He was literally a baby,” Kerr said Saturday. “He was just a kid. He had no idea what the NBA was about.

“Zach’s questions were fantastic.”

His career was marred by run-ins with the law, but Randolph emerged in Memphis as one of the Grizzlies’ top players as a rugged, versatile presence. He fondly recalled how Kerr, then playing in his 14th NBA season, tried to help the maturity process.

“I used to sit next to Steve on the plane and ask him all kind of questions about him and (Michael) Jordan,” Randolph said.

“Steve was always great, a great person, man. He was just a great leader and mentor type of guy even when I was a rookie…I was amazed, you know? Steve Kerr, Scottie Pippen, like I’m on a team with these guys?”


Grizzlies’ Courtney Lee on if it will be louder in Memphis: ‘By far – without the volume pumped in the audience’

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis guard Courtney Lee said Friday the Grizzlies have the rowdiest fans in the NBA and “get rowdy naturally.”

Asked if it will be louder at FedExForum for the upcoming Western Conference semifinals games against the Warriors than it was at Oracle Arena, Lee told Fox 13 Memphis: “Oh, by far, by far, by far — without the volume pumped in the audience. I think it’s going to be pretty loud.”

Asked if he was saying there was fake noise at Oracle, Lee smiled.

“I’m not saying it,” Lee said. “I’m just saying that we don’t use that. What was that other team? Oklahoma City got caught for doing that? You know what I mean? I’m just saying we don’t do that. Our fans is just there supporting with the towels, and they’re screaming, and it’s naturally loud there.

It was Lee who after a Game 2 win wrote of the Grizzlies’ home court advantage in comparison to Oracle.

“They said no arena gets louder, I said then they haven’t been to the GRINDHOUSE!!!!!!” Lee posted on Instagram.

In the Warriors’ previous series, New Orleans coach Monty Williams raised eyebrows when he  said of Oracle, “I’m not so sure that the decibel level is legal there, and I’m serious. They’ve done studies on that. Being on the competition committee, there’s got to be something to that because it does get a little out of hand.”

Williams later said the comment was tongue-in-cheek and clarified that wasn’t speaking about artificial noise.

“No, I don’t know anything about that,” Williams said. “It’s all crowd noise. They’ve got 20,000 people here, so I’m sure everything they generate here is authentic.”


Ex-Warriors coach Mark Jackson: ‘There will never be no issues’ with Stephen Curry

Asked if he had the opportunity to explain to Stephen Curry his pick of James Harden as the MVP, former Warriors coach Mark Jackson said Thursday he wasn’t going there.

“What I will say is there are people that will attempt to create nonsense and create friction,” Jackson told the Dan LeBatard Show. “From my end, that’ll never take place. I’m forever grateful for how he conducted himself as a player of mine. I’m forever grateful for who he is as an individual and the accomplishments that he’s had. And there will never be no issues between him and I as far as I’m concerned. I wish him nothing but the very best, and I’m going to love him.”

Curry was named the MVP earlier this week after Jackson, an ESPN broadcaster without a vote, told the Dan Patrick Show last month that his vote would probably go to Houston’s James Harden. Curry, who had supported Jackson leading up to his firing after last season had said his former coach’s pick was “very surprising.”

“The easy route to go was to say Steph,” Jackson said. “That’s easy. I’m not saying he wasn’t worthy. I’m not even saying he didn’t deserve it. I just had to make a pick. So at the end of the day, I love him. I’m happy for him. I’m proud of him. Tremendous speech. Tremendous accomplishment. I wish him nothing but the very best, and we move on. But as an announcer, I’ve never taken the easy way out. I never try to take shortcuts. I’m going to do my job to the best of my ability. And that’s not saying James Harden didn’t deserve it. If anybody thinks I’m shading or hating or all of that, I picked the guy that wound up No. 2 as far as the voting was concerned.

Jackson’s name did not come up in Curry’s speech Monday after he beat out Harden for the award in a landslide.

“I love Steph Curry, and I’m excited and proud of the fact that he was MVP of the league in 2014-15,” Jackson said. “He deserved it when you think about the body of work. And obviously I got a job to do, and my job is to be honest and to analyze the game.

“My feelings have not changed towards (Curry), and I think he’s a great, great individual. And I’m extremely proud of him. And I still love him.”

Jackson noted that when he says that Rick Pitino is the greatest coach that he played for, broadcast partner Jeff Van Gundy doesn’t get upset.

Van Gundy, told 95.7 The Game on Tuesday that he didn’t read anything into Jackson picking Harden.

“People are going to try to nitpick,” Van Gundy said. “They’ve done it with Mark when he said he thought he would vote for Harden. Like that was some referendum on their relationship (between Curry and Jackson).

“Listen, I’ve seen them interact in the back just last Sunday (when Jackson was at Oracle Arena for Game 1 of the Memphis series). And I can see that not only is there true respect between each other, but there is like an appreciation for what each other did for each other’s career.”


Grizzlies’ Vince Carter: What are Stephen Curry’s doubters saying now?

SAN FRANCISCO – The Grizzlies’ Vince Carter has followed the rise of Stephen Curry since the Warriors star was a boy in Toronto, where he and Curry’s father, Dell, were teammates.

“I was more impressed than anything to see when you come out of the draft, they’ll always say what you can’t do and what you may not be able to do,” Carter said Tuesday, the day after Curry was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player. “I’m wondering what all those people are saying now.”

Carter can remember Curry before Raptors games playing one-on-one on the practice court. When the two were reunited in the NBA and faced off in a game, Carter approached Curry to tell of how the rise to stardom at Davidson was something he followed.

“To see him come full circle, a grown man out there playing grown-man basketball is pretty awesome.

“You knew he was destined to play in the NBA. How good remained to be seen, and it was up to him and his work ethic. But he’s worked his butt off to prove he’s a legit point guard and a legit threat in this league.”


Wheaties to release limited-edition Stephen Curry box in June to honor ‘heart of a true champion’

Warriors guard Stephen Curry after winning the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award will be featured on a Wheaties limited edition cereal box beginning next month, General Mills announced Tuesday.

“I am excited to join the amazing athletes, including many of my childhood heroes, who have come before me as part of the Wheaties legacy,” Curry said in a statement. “This is a huge honor and I’m thrilled to be part of the Team Wheaties family.”

Wheaties had sent congratulations on Twitter on Monday after it was announced Curry had won the MVP. The following day, Wheaties associate marketing manager Jamie Lyon praised Curry in a statement for his dedication and commitment to basketball in addition to his community service projects, adding that he “embodies the heart of a true champion.”

“It’s an honor to add Stephen Curry to the Wheaties family, and we congratulate him on the tremendous achievement of league MVP,” said Jamie Lyon, Wheaties Associate Marketing Manager. “Through dedication and commitment to his sport, in addition to his service to the community, Stephen embodies the heart of a true champion.”

“Watching since my rookie year the way you’ve grown and how everybody has taken notice, and all these endorsements you get and stuff, you’re about to get a lot more now,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said of Curry at the MVP press conference.


Draymond Green’s childhood stories from his mom show some things haven’t changed with Warriors

Draymond Green’s mother, Mary Babers-Green, traveled from Saginaw, Mich. to attend the Warriors’ home games against Memphis.

“She’s hilarious,” Green said.

Babers-Green was just that while recently telling some childhood stories about her talkative son, some of which appear in this feature story on how he has emerged into a media darling.

Here are some others:

– Green at age 2 was riding a bike without training wheels. “Draymond was one of those little kids that could do anything…He didn’t want help with anything.” One time at age four, Green and his brother rode their bikes to the store. Green got what he wanted, and then hilarity apparently ensued. “You don’t know who I am?” Green asked. “I’m Draymond Green!” As Babers-Green told it to Joe Rexrode in the Lansing State Journal, the storekeeper who stopped him was laughing so hard he let Green keep the chips and juice.

— Green at age four was also good over the phone. One time he called into work for his stepfather and yelled, “Hi, this is Draymond Green, calling in for Raymond Green!”

— Green talked so much that his brother and sister would tie his legs up into a pretzel and also called him a “little snitch.” Babers-Green recalled Green being so young at the time that he couldn’t say it quite right and said his siblings were calling him a “little switch.”

— All that talking from Green apparently made it tough for him to make friends at first. “Draymond had no friends because he ran them all away. No one wanted to play with him,” Babers-Green said. “Draymond was going to rattle ‘em.” Babers-Green had no problem with all the talking and in fact encouraged it and noted that like Warriors coach Steve Kerr does, he was allowed to argue his points. “I never looked at him like he was doing something wrong.”

— Green originally committed to Tubby Smith at Kentucky, but Babers-Green said there was no way she would have ever let him go to school there. She had encouraged her son to be opinionated all his life with her and go at her as long as it didn’t get respectful, and the college decision ended up being a huge debate. “We went at it when he committed to Kentucky,” Babers-Green said.  “We. Went. At. It. He was like, ‘I’m going. Yes I am.’ We went rounds about it.” On a visit to Kentucky while sitting with the Big Blue Nation, Babers-Green said he could sense with a gut feeling that her son didn’t fit there and that it wasn’t for him. As it turned out, Smith resigned and Green ended up at Michigan State.