Mark Jackson blames Warriors' 'narrative' for no second coaching job

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Josh Schrock
·5 min read
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Jackson blames Warriors' 'narrative' for no second coaching job originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Mark Jackson coached the Warriors to back-to-back NBA playoff appearances in 2013 and 2014 before being fired and replaced by Steve Kerr who subsequently led Golden State to three NBA championships and five straight Finals appearances.

Despite having a solid record as a coach, Jackson has not yet gotten a second chance to be an NBA head coach. There has been the perception that Jackson couldn't get along with ownership and forced his religious beliefs on players. Jackson blames the "narrative" surrounding his time in Golden State for his lack of a second chance, and addressed the assertion he forced his religious beliefs on players on the "Boardroom: Out of Office" podcast with Rich Kleiman.

"When you make a statement and say I force folks to come to church -- are you kidding me? What sense does that make?" Jackson said, via the New York Daily News. "Never in my life have I forced people to go to church.

"First of all, Steph Curry believes if he goes to God in prayer, he will be healed from his ankle issues," Jackson continued. "Steph Curry himself believes that. So therefore if it did happen, or if it didn't happen, at the end of the day, he's healed. And I thank God that he's healed and he went on to become one of the truly great players in this game, a superstar and a class act."

Jackson is referring to the anecdote in Marcus Thompson's book "Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Stephen Curry," where it was asserted that Jackson had Curry take place in a spiritual ritual to heal his ankles.

The culture Jackson fostered in Golden State was thought of as toxic, like the time he reportedly told the team that Festus Ezeli was rooting against the Warriors while he was injured.

While the Warriors did win under Jackson, there was also a lot of drama which it is hard to imagine had nothing to do with Jackson. He had issues with players, management and owner Joe Lacob made it clear that a change was necessary.

"Part of it was that he couldn't get along with anybody else in the organization," Lacob said back in 2014. "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.

"We all make the decision to change the CEO too late, right? No matter how many times you've done it, we're always in the situation. We're always waiting longer than we should wait. And I'm very cognizant of that after all those years [as a venture capitalist]. And in sports, it's no different than a business. You really kind of have to get ahead of it."

RELATED: Why Warriors should root for East teams to win more games

Since being fired by the Warriors, Jackson has interviewed for at least two head coaching vacancies, including the New York Knicks' job that was given to David Fizdale in 2018.

Jackson has been a broadcaster now for seven seasons, watching how the best in the world operate. You'd think that his second chance would come eventually if he can prove that he's done some soul-searching and realized the missteps he made during his Warriors tenure.

"I'll say this, in my life -- you know, you've given me credit, and I appreciate it, and not just as a coach, but as a basketball player, as a father, as a husband, whatever it is -- I haven't been perfect," Jackson told Kleiman. "I've made mistakes, and that's part of living.

"So when you ask about the Warriors, we made the playoffs one time in 19 years [prior to me getting there]. You then go from a team in a lockout-shortened season winning 23 games to now a team that all of a sudden wins 48, I believe, and is a playoff team, and then the next year, the third year, wins 51 and is a playoff team. I didn't do that. We did it. Ownership, management, my coaching staff, and most importantly, without a doubt, the players buying in and being committed. We did that.

"I'm incredibly blessed to have had that opportunity," Jackson went on to say. "Now, when you do things as a believer, that doesn't mean it's always going to work out. And sometimes, you're gonna be used in ways that you don't wanna be used. So did the human side of me think, 'Man, this is messed up. I got fired? How did I get fired when I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, and I'm trying to live right, and I'm trying to instill and motivate and inspire and all those things. I got fired?' The human side of me certainly feels some of that. But as you mature as a believer in life, the objective is for the spiritual side to be stronger than the human side. So my spirit man checks my flesh man and says, 'Are you kidding me? It's not about you. It's not about you. It's about a bigger purpose, a bigger call on your life.'"

Would the Warriors have won three titles in five seasons had they stuck with Jackson and not made the change to Kerr? It's impossible to say. But there's no doubt the culture Kerr has created with Golden State is the NBA standard alongside the San Antonio Spurs, and that helped create the NBA's great winning machine.

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OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Golden State
+195+6.5O 222.5
Phoenix
-239-6.5U 222.5