“Oh yes,” Cuban told me on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show. “Obviously Mark is very talented and he was very successful in turning the Warriors around. I don’t know why he doesn’t have a job but, there’s a lot of things that I don’t know about the NBA.”
NBA legend and fellow native New Yorker Rod Strickland echos Cuban’s feelings.
“I agree 100%,” the 17-year NBA veteran tweeted on Friday. “One of the great basketball minds. As a player and a coach had a way of making the people around him feel like winners.”
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Mark Jackson Last Coached Warriors in 2013-14
In three NBA seasons with the Warriors, Jackson compiled a 121-109 record and played a key role in developing All-Stars Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. He was fired by the team in May 2014.
The now 55-year-old was replaced by rookie head coach turned three-time champion Steve Kerr despite leading the Dubs to consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in over 20 years — though failing to advance past the Western Conference Semifinals both times.
Since parting ways with Jackson, the Warriors have won three NBA titles, including the 2014-15 campaign immediately following his departure, while Jackson has done television duties as an analyst for ESPN.
Jackson has a desire to coach in the NBA again.
“I look forward to the day I’m coaching again,” he told Reggie Miller in an Instagram Live interview per Forbes scribe, Landon Buford.
“I look forward to the day that somebody gives me an opportunity to be a head coach and lead an organization,” Jackson later told his daughter Heavyn Jackson via Instagram Live.
“I truly look forward to that day.”
Others are skeptical.
“Obviously he’s been blackballed,” Al Harrington, Jackson’s former Indiana Pacers teammate told me in October. “It’s just no way around it. I’m not sure who it was, but somewhere in that organization and I think Jerry West was there and I’m sure he has a lot of clout within sports period and I’m not saying it’s him but somebody blackballed him. Because it just doesn’t make sense because he actually was a good coach – you know, there’s coaches that’s gotten situations and coached for three years/ three seasons and won you know … 35 games, 40 games and they’re still resurfacing either as an assistant coach or as another head coach, but for him not to ever get any coaching jobs and all that … he’s been blackballed.”
Jackson Dominated on the Court Before Coaching
As a player, Jackson was one of the best point guards in NBA history. The 18th overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft by way of his hometown New York Knicks, the Brooklyn, New York native and All-Star averaged 9.6 points and 8.0 assists across 17 seasons in the league, including multiple stints with the Knicks, Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Clippers, and one season each with the Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets.
“I just don’t understand it,” Jeff Van Gundy told me on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show. “I don’t get it. We talk about underrepresentation right now of minority candidates and I don’t know what’s going on.
“This guy had a phenomenal NBA career where everybody would tell you he’s the smartest player they’ve ever coached and then he went on to a tremendous broadcasting career; after that, he took over a Warriors team; he didn’t take over the Warriors team we know now, he took over a Warriors team that had been historically bad for a long time.”
Warriors Owner Cites Hiring Choices as Reason for Firing
Despite many ex-players and coaches supporting the notion that Jackson has been purposefully cut from the league, Warriors majority owner & CEO Joe Lacob has previously pointed to different reasons behind the decision to fire Jackson.
During a candid December 2014 speech to Bay Area venture capitalists, Lacob revealed the primary driver behind Jackon’s departure, via SB Nation:
“Right now, (Kerr) looks great,” Lacob said at the time. “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.”
Despite his on-court success as both an NBA coach and player, Lacob further detailed his case against Jackson, later citing poor relational skills as a factor that may have cut his time with the organization short.
“Part of it was that he couldn’t get along with anybody else in the organization,” Lacob said, via SB Nation. “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.”