Warriors

Why isn't MJax an NBA coach again? Russillo lists tons of reasons

Warriors

Mark Jackson, who was the coach of the Warriors for three seasons, was fired shortly after Golden State lost Game 7 of its 2014 first-round NBA playoff matchup against the LA Clippers.

Despite various media personalities publicly campaigning for Jackson to get another head-coaching opportunity, he has not been given that chance.

Former Warriors forward Andre Iguodala in June 2019 said he believes Jackson has been "blackballed" by the league.

Well, The Ringer's Ryen Russillo dedicated about 10 minutes of his podcast Friday explaining why Jackson is broadcasting instead of coaching.

"When it comes down to Mark Jackson, there a lot of things that are brought up," he said. "Really, I think it comes down to this -- you are either informed or uninformed. If you are informed, you understand why Mark Jackson doesn't have a job. If you are uninformed, you are screaming all sorts of accusations for why Mark doesn't have a job.

"I had known the Warriors definitely wanted to go in another direction basically that entire season (2013-14). And there are organizations that will not want to fire (a coach) -- even though they want to fire him -- (but) they're like, 'Can we really fire a guy when he led us to this improvement?' 

"Mark did a couple really positive things. That team played very tough defense ... (but) there were a lot of issues the front office had with Mark's approach. I think there were some concerns, 'Can we really go ahead and do this?' And they do, and then they win an NBA championship.

 

"So it does get back to relationships."

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At this point, Russillo went over the comments owner Joe Lacob made in December 2014 after the Warriors were off to a great start under Steve Kerr.

"Right now, (Kerr) looks great. I think he will be great. And he did the one big thing that I wanted more than anything else from Mark Jackson he just wouldn't do, in all honesty, which is hire the very best. Carte blanche. Take my wallet. Do whatever it is to get the best assistants there are in the world. Period. End of story. Don't want to hear it. And (Jackson's) answer was, 'Well, I have the best staff.' No you don't. And so with Steve, very, very different.

"Part of it was that he couldn't get along with anybody else in the organization. And look, he did a great job, and I'll always compliment him in many respects, but you can't have 200 people in the organization not like you."

Russillo had a lot more to say.

"Let's also talk about some of the other stuff that's just -- let's face it -- weird," he began. "Jackson is a man of faith. I don't question anyone's faith. But I know it rubbed some people the wrong way when he was a head coach, but also would find time to get to LA whenever he had a convenient off day (to preach).

"It's tough to tell a man of faith, 'Hey you know what -- don't be that interested in God.' That's almost an impossible conversation. But if I (said to my boss), 'Hey, I can't watch football this weekend because I have this higher calling ...' eventually at work they would be like, 'Hey, you know what man -- this is all part of the job, being able to be around.' His employer at the time being frustrated by it actually makes a little bit of sense.

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"Jackson also had some issues off the court where he was caught up in an extortion deal ... when asked about Jason Collins (coming out as gay), he said, 'Not in my locker room.' So it came off as if he was a homophobe because there's kind of evidence that he is. And then when he was asked to clear that up, he said, 'I know his family and I'm praying for them right now.' Hey man, save your f--ing prayers. That's the kind of stuff that just doesn't play no matter who you are.

 

"I have nothing personal against Mark Jackson. He's one of my favorite college basketball players of all time. (But) I think the most important part of all of this -- when I listen to him on the broadcasts with (Jeff) Van Gundy, I think it hurts his chances of getting a job. Van Gundy (mentions) all of these little things (that are smart and revealing). It happens multiple times every single broadcast. Jeff Van Gundy is easily the best NBA analyst right now. Mark doesn't do any of those things.

"He'll say, 'This guy's not just a great scorer, he's a great individual.' OK. 'So and so doesn't get enough credit for his shooting.' OK. It's very minimal depth. Jeff runs circles around him on the broadcast. It might remind people (owners and general managers) to go, 'Wait, why is this one guy way better at talking about the game than the other guy.'

"When it comes specifically to Mark Jackson, there are the informed and the uninformed. And hopefully if you've resisted this, you're more informed now."

Nothing else needs to be said.

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