Jeff Van Gundy Addresses Why Mark Jackson’s Being Blackballed as NBA Coach

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - AUGUST 01: (L-R) Commentators Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen talk prior to game between the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 01, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

In three NBA seasons, Mark Jackson went 121-109 and developed All Stars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.

Jackson was fired by the Warriors in 2014, despite leading the dubs to consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in over 20 years.

LIVE with Jeff Van GundyESPN's Jeff Van Gundy joins us LIVE to talk about the NBA Finals and more!2020-10-01T23:33:11Z

Since Jackson’s firing, the Warriors have won multiple championships and Jackson has been named a coaching candidate but nothing has materialized.

“I just don’t understand it,” Jeff Van Gundy, Jackson’s former head coach during his playing days with the New York Knicks 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.”

Van Gundy is also Jackson’s ESPN broadcasting partner alongside Mike Breen during the NBA Finals.

Mark Jackson was one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. A one-time NBA All-Star, he was the 18th pick in the 1987 NBA Draft by way of his hometown New York Knicks. A Brooklyn, New York native, Jackson averaged 9.6 points and eight rebounds in two stints with the Knicks and Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets.

Currently there are a few head coaching vacancies in the NBA. The Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets organizations easily come to mind. Jeff Van Gundy thinks Mark Jackson deserves a shot because of his resume with the Warriors.

Mark Jackson coach

Getty Head coach Mark Jackson calls out a play for the Golden State Warriors.

“He built that team up to where it was on the precipice of being a championship caliber team,” he said.

“They let Mark go, they redid their whole bench and became a much deeper team; they hired Steve Kerr who did a tremendous job and they won championships. But no one can give me one reason that he doesn’t get more interviews or hasn’t had opportunities to be a head coach in this league. Something’s going on that isn’t being spoken about. It’s wrong and I’ll tell you this – some owner or some GM is gonna be thought of as brilliant if they just give him a chance again and let him coach, teach and inspire a team; because he’s gonna win BIG.”

While the Rockets have their eyes on Van Gundy to potentially fill their head coaching vacancy, so do the Los Angeles Clippers. Jackson is a Los Angeles resident. While on Heavy Live With Scoop B, I asked Van Gundy if he had any desire to add Jackson to his assistant coaching staff if he were to return to coaching. “I think he’s far above that,” he admitted.

“You know, being an assistant to me, he’s better off staying on TV. He needs to be a head coach again. This idea that he should go back to being an assistant…I don’t get it. I just don’t understand people’s thinking and he SHOULD be on everybody’s short list for getting interviews and even with that, and I don’t really know because I’m not – you know, we don’t talk about everything… I sure hope that people are smart enough to give him interviews.”