World

The Corner

Remembering Malcolm Kerr

The world knows Steve Kerr as the coach of the Golden State Warriors — the greatest basketball team of all time, probably. I know him as that too. But it’s hard for me not to think of him as Malcolm Kerr’s son.

When I was in college — early in that experience — I thought I might be an Arabist. I took courses in the Near Eastern Studies Department. One of the experts we read was Malcolm Kerr, the president of the American University of Beirut. While I was in college, taking those courses, he was murdered: murdered by the same people who were always murdering Americans, and others, in Lebanon.

Steve Kerr was 18 when his father was killed. What a blow, to Steve and the rest of the family. And to others. What a disgusting blow.

Steve, of course, went on to be an NBA player and now has this coaching gig. That is an unexpected fate, I would say, for the child of an American scholar in the Middle East. (Steve himself grew up in the Middle East.)

Anyway, I thought of this the other night, as the Warriors beat the Cavs, clinching the championship. “The lives people lead,” Midge Decter once said to me. Amazing, the lives that people lead.

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