NEW YORK – Steve Kerr is in the midst of quite possibly the longest dream of his life.
Kerr, in Part I of this dream, is a former NBA role player who won five championship rings with two different franchises. He played alongside the most famous basketball player on earth.
In Part II, Kerr is a basketball analyst, periodically traveling to various parts of the United States to watch the game he loves and provide commentary and stay in nice hotels and eat in fabulous restaurants.
Part III of the dream, however, is blowing Kerr's mind.
He is in his first season as an NBA coach, and he has led the Warriors to the best record in the league, which this weekend is granting Kerr the privilege of coaching the Western Conference All-Star team.
He's coaching the kind of players who have a level of game he never had, the kind of stars he once admired from his warm seat on the bench.
He's dreaming while awake.
"I enjoy every single day, I really do," Kerr told CSN Bay Area on Saturday. "I know you're supposed to say, 'No, we don't stop.' But I stop and smell the roses every day."
These roses smell like victory. His Warriors are 42-9, the best start in franchise history, whether in the original home of Philadelphia, the second home of San Francisco, the temporary home in San Jose or the current home in Oakland.
No rookie coach has ever had such an auspicious start.
As badly as Kerr wants a championship, he realizes that can’t be won before June. That would be the climax of his dream.
Meanwhile, the dream continues on that path. Two of his Warriors players, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, are on the All-Star team. Kerr's assistant coaches are here. He is being praised to the point of celebration.
"It's a circus, an absolute circus," Kerr said of the atmosphere around All-Star Weekend. "But it's fun, especially being around Steph and Klay in this environment, getting the recognition they deserve. And also visiting with the other players, getting to know Marc Gasol, (Kevin) Durant and (Ruseell) Westbrook, all these guys that we play against but don't necessarily to get speak with. That's what makes it fun."
Yet nothing has been more satisfying than to take over a very good team and direct it toward greatness. The Warriors are leading the NBA in defense. They are leading the NBA in offense. They are leading the NBA, period.
Kerr has been teammates with Michael Jordan and Tim Duncan's teammate, has played under Lute Olson (in college, University of Arizona) Lenny Wilkens, Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich. He has worked alongside distinguished sportscaster Marv Albert.
And now this, dipping his toe into coaching and seeing his foot turn gold.
"I'm the luckiest man on earth, for sure," Kerr said. "I've had an incredibly fortunate career."
And it's still going, stronger than ever, with a franchise that over the past 30-plus years as been one of the more luckless in American professional sports.
"It's not (often) in the NBA that you have this type of season and this type of success," Kerr said. "So you have to enjoy it while it's happening but also look ahead and keep plugging away and keep working for what's next."
That would be the 31 games remaining until the playoffs begin in April. Barring injury or a shocking turn of events, the Warriors will post their first 60-win season. As a coach, Kerr has been an overnight sensation. Ask him, and he cites the roster.
Meanwhile, Kerr sees his family frequently. His paychecks are bigger than they've ever been. His bosses are enamored with him.
If it feels like a dream and looks like a dream, maybe it is a dream – even if Kerr is wide awake before millions of witnesses.