“Mama, there goes that man.”
That catchy phrase will be missed on national television as ESPN laid off former New York Knicks guard Mark Jackson as a TV analyst, per multiple reports.
Jackson and Van Gundy formed one of the best sportscasting trios with Knicks play-by-play anchor Mike Breen at ESPN.
“Sources said that plans to put him on the network’s “B” team alongside Mark Jones fell apart in part due to the hope of getting more game reps for JJ Redick and Richard Jefferson,” New York Post’s Andrew Marchand wrote.
“While ESPN could have simply put Burke in for Van Gundy, there was a strong feeling that the combination of Jackson and Burke would not have the same chemistry as Jackson and Van Gundy had,” Marchand added.
Jackson, 58, was the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1988 after the Knicks selected him at No. 18. Interestingly, the Knicks traded Jackson for Rivers after the 1991-92 season, making their succession at ESPN a déjà vu.
It is unclear where Jackson will go from here. But a return to coaching is the natural move if the opportunity comes up. He is expected to join Van Gundy, who has been “actively exploring a return to coaching” after his ESPN exit, per Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix, as a future coaching candidate.
Reactions to Mark Jackson’s Firing
The NBA community reacted to Jackson’s firing on Twitter (recently rebranded to “X”).
ESPN’s decision saddened some fans.
And there were also those who rejoiced.
Stephen A. Smith Makes Bold Prediction About Jalen Brunson
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith made a bold claim last week at First Take that Jalen Brunson will be the first to win a championship ring among the NBA stars, which include Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young and Philadelphia 76ers reigning MVP Joel Embiid, who tied the knot this summer.
“I’m going to go with Jalen Brunson and the Knicks,” Smith said when asked who among the trio would win a title first. “I don’t know if Philly’s going to be able to get Embiid the requisite help that he needs. I certainly don’t believe in the Hawks in terms of championship contention. So I’m going to go with the Knicks.”
Brunson got married to his high school sweetheart Ali Marks in Chicago over the weekend in a lavished ceremony attended by his close Knicks and Villanova Wildcats teammates.
The outspoken Smith is banking on the new-found stability in New York under the leadership of team president Leon Rose and head coach Tom Thibodeau, while citing “a lot of question marks” in both Philadelphia and Atlanta Hawks.
The Sixers are facing uncertainty after James Harden requested a trade, while the Hawks have recently traded starting power forward John Collins to the Utah Jazz in a salary dump move.