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'Bob Myers is a winner': Why Josh Harris chose the former Warriors GM to help him find Washington's next head coach

Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers smiles during an NBA basketball media availability Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers smiles during an NBA basketball media availability Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Washington Commanders Managing Partner Josh Harris said on Monday that there would be a "thorough, but rapid" process for finding the franchise's next head coach and head of football operations. 

His first move in that search was to surround himself with people who have institutional knowledge of the NFL and sports to give him objective advice on who should lead Washington into a new era.

In the same statement that Harris released to announce that he was parting ways with Ron Rivera, he also laid out his intentions to include former Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and longtime Golden State Warriors executive Bob Myers on a committee to interview candidates for the head coach and head of football operations. Spielman's name is well known in NFL circles; he started his business career as a scout and helped turn the Vikings into playoff contenders.

Myers, however, was the name that raised eyebrows. The former Warriors general manager has an impressive resume. He played a pivotal role in turning Golden State into a championship franchise, surrounding Stephen Curry with a bevy of superstar talent. The results: four championships, nine playoff appearances in 11 seasons and two executive of the year awards for Myers.

So, why would Harris want someone with NBA ties to help him turn the Commanders in a new direction? He knows how to build cultures, and that skill crosses over into any team sport.

"Bob Myers is a winner," Harris said. "Who wouldn't want him on your team trying to help your franchise? He knows how to identify talent. He knows how to build winning franchises, winning cultures."

Harris knows firsthand how successful Myers' culture can be, because he had to compete against them for years.

Harris and Myers led the group that acquired the 76ers in 2011, the same year that Myers stepped away from a success stint as a sports agent to join the Warriors as an assistant general manager. While the 76ers were going through "The Process" and were consistently one of the worst teams in the NBA, the Warriors were turning into the franchise that dominated basketball for nearly a decade. Myers played a role in drafting Klay Thompson and followed it up by picking Draymond Green in 2012, his first as the Warriors' general manager.

Although Myers and Harris' teams crossed paths plenty of times -- the Warriors were 16-6 against the 76ers with Myers in the front office -- the two got to know each other better when they ran into each other during the 2020 NBA playoffs, which was held in "the bubble" in Bay Lake, Florida, according to The Athletic's David Aldridge, and the two have kept in touch ever since.

"And just talking to him, I think he respected the work at Golden State," **Myers told Aldridge.** "And we had a relationship. I would call it beyond just acquaintances. And just mutual respect."

Having some of the best talent in NBA -- including a stint where Kevin Durant helped them win two championships -- certainly helps to develop a strong culture, the team Myers built on more than just the best three-point shooter in history. Plenty of teams in the NBA have invested heavily in acquiring talent to compete for trophies. Some of them even accomplish that goal, but many fall apart for a variety of reasons.

Two of the biggest ingredients for Myers: having the proper leaders in place, which he admitted in an article by Forbes are hard to find, and mutual respect for everyone in the organization.

"You've got to respect each other," **Myers said.** "You've got to understand that some days, you don't have it. And your teammates need to pick you up. It's the houseguest that stays too long. Sometimes you just need space. And it's nobody's fault. You need to yell at each other; you have to tell each other how you're feeling. There's acrimony, there's division, there's everything. But as long as you don't break. You have to view it almost as like a family -- that no matter what happens, we're blood, and we're going to see it through. But that's a challenge, because you're really not blood, but you're as close as you can get, 'cause you're with each other all the time."

It's a skill that Myers knows how to manage well. When he was the Warriors' general manager, he would make sure to spend time with a mixture of players and coaches, whether it was chatting it up with Green and Andre Iguodala or offering some insight to head coach Steve Kerr.

Myers' authenticity and genuine approach to his job was something his players appreciated about him.

"He doesn't walk around like he's the leader. We know he makes the big decisions, but we work together, all of us, him and Steve especially. If you see Bob walking with a group of Warriors employees, you wouldn't know he's Bob Myers, the president of the team. He just fits in with everybody," **Durant said via The Associated Press.** "We talk so much about great leaders being just ahead of the pack most of the time but sometimes that doesn't have to be your personality. It could be encouraging, working with others, learning and listening. All those traits he has, and I think that's why he's ahead of the pack.

"That's what drew me here."

Myers, who has been an analyst on NBA Countdown since August, has already begun his work towards helping Harris find the Commanders' next head coach. Though the team has not released any official details, the committee that includes Harris, Myers and Spielman as well as limited partners Mitch Rales, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and David Blitzer has reportedly been interviewing candidates for the last few days.

Myers won't offer much in terms of X's and O's; that's not his area of expertise. But he can give some input on the qualities required from an executive and head coach to build a new culture. Myers was in the same situation as Harris when the Warriors let go of Mark Jackson as their head coach. Myers hired Steve Kerr, and based on the .656 winning percentage and six playoff appearances, that turned out to be a good decision.

Harris certainly will want to find a coach who embodies at least some of the same qualities that Myers possesses and values himself. And, as Harris said, if the Commanders do end up finding someone like that, who wouldn't want him on their trying to help your franchise?

"I have been fortunate to know Josh Harris for many years, and his commitment to building championship-caliber teams is what drew me here. In my experience, championship infrastructure begins with a strong ownership group that prioritizes culture and invests in attracting the industry's most talented and innovative leaders," Myers said in a statement. "In speaking with Josh and his team, it's clear they will do everything it takes to build out a world-class organization -- one that can win on the field and make a positive mark in the DMV community. This is the type of opportunity that really inspires me, and I look forward to contributing to the next chapter of this storied franchise."

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