Arizona's Steve Kerr (25) shoots against Arizona State on Jan. 20, 1984 at McKale Center in Tucson. Joe Vitti / Arizona Daily Star

Joe Vitti / Arizona Daily Star

Four days after Kerr’s father, Malcolm Kerr, president of American University in Beirut, was assassinated, the then-unknown freshman guard from Los Angeles entered the ASU-UA game at McKale Center with 12:59 remaining in the first half. Almost immediately he caught a pass and swished a 20-footer. A legend was born. The crowd, which had stood in a moment of silence before the game as Kerr wept, made a thunderous noise. Kerr scored 12 points in the game. Arizona won 71-49.

The victory, and Kerr’s continued presence, ignited Arizona’s run under first-year coach  Olson. ASU had dominated Arizona, going 11-1 before Olson was hired. But after Kerr’s basket, the series forever changed. Arizona won 16 of the next 17 and Kerr became a legend at McKale Center. 

Sports columnist for the Arizona Daily Star.