Asked if he had the opportunity to explain to Stephen Curry his pick of James Harden as the MVP, former Warriors coach Mark Jackson said Thursday he wasn’t going there.
“What I will say is there are people that will attempt to create nonsense and create friction,” Jackson told the Dan LeBatard Show. “From my end, that’ll never take place. I’m forever grateful for how he conducted himself as a player of mine. I’m forever grateful for who he is as an individual and the accomplishments that he’s had. And there will never be no issues between him and I as far as I’m concerned. I wish him nothing but the very best, and I’m going to love him.”
Curry was named the MVP earlier this week after Jackson, an ESPN broadcaster without a vote, told the Dan Patrick Show last month that his vote would probably go to Houston’s James Harden. Curry, who had supported Jackson leading up to his firing after last season had said his former coach’s pick was “very surprising.”
“The easy route to go was to say Steph,” Jackson said. “That’s easy. I’m not saying he wasn’t worthy. I’m not even saying he didn’t deserve it. I just had to make a pick. So at the end of the day, I love him. I’m happy for him. I’m proud of him. Tremendous speech. Tremendous accomplishment. I wish him nothing but the very best, and we move on. But as an announcer, I’ve never taken the easy way out. I never try to take shortcuts. I’m going to do my job to the best of my ability. And that’s not saying James Harden didn’t deserve it. If anybody thinks I’m shading or hating or all of that, I picked the guy that wound up No. 2 as far as the voting was concerned.
Jackson’s name did not come up in Curry’s speech Monday after he beat out Harden for the award in a landslide.
“I love Steph Curry, and I’m excited and proud of the fact that he was MVP of the league in 2014-15,” Jackson said. “He deserved it when you think about the body of work. And obviously I got a job to do, and my job is to be honest and to analyze the game.
“My feelings have not changed towards (Curry), and I think he’s a great, great individual. And I’m extremely proud of him. And I still love him.”
Jackson noted that when he says that Rick Pitino is the greatest coach that he played for, broadcast partner Jeff Van Gundy doesn’t get upset.
Van Gundy, told 95.7 The Game on Tuesday that he didn’t read anything into Jackson picking Harden.
“People are going to try to nitpick,” Van Gundy said. “They’ve done it with Mark when he said he thought he would vote for Harden. Like that was some referendum on their relationship (between Curry and Jackson).
“Listen, I’ve seen them interact in the back just last Sunday (when Jackson was at Oracle Arena for Game 1 of the Memphis series). And I can see that not only is there true respect between each other, but there is like an appreciation for what each other did for each other’s career.”