Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson, center, hugs guard Stephen Curry after Curry was taken out of the game as forward Draymond Green looks on during the second half in Game 7 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series, Saturday, May 3, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 126-121. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Former Warriors coach Mark Jackson will return to Oracle Arena on Dec. 16 to broadcast the team’s game against the Phoenix Suns for ESPN.
In previous games in which Jackson has called the action in a Warriors, his comments have been dissected as many fans have wondered what it was like to be in the booth discussing the team that fired him after the 2013-14 season.
Jackson has noticed and offered some perspective Thursday, laughing when being asked in studio at ESPN LA radio about his split with the team as he noted, “I got fired.”
“I look at people on Twitter or wherever, and they say or write a story, ‘How could ESPN have Mark Jackson do this game? That’s brutal, and that’s abuse,’” Jackson said. “It is absolutely hysterical to me. I was a kid dreaming of being an NBA player. At the same time, dreaming of being the announcer. I was Earl Monroe and Magic Johnson on the court. I was Marv Albert announcing the action while I was on the court in the park. And at the same time, I was Red Holzman, the coach of the Knicks. So I was a guy that dreamt about being all three at one time.
“To live my life, to have played 17 years in the NBA, to have coached for three years for a team, and to have the privilege to call NBA games and announce the NBA Finals, I am absolutely winning. There is no reason at all for me to be upset, discouraged or depressed. It is a blessing to be in my position, and I’m having the time of my life covering the best game in the world.”
The Warriors won the NBA championship under Steve Kerr the season after Jackson’s firing. It was Jackson who turned things around after a 23-win season his first year.
“I took over a job in Golden State with a bad culture, guys that said they wanted to win, but didn’t want to win,” Jackson said.
Now the Warriors are 23-0, and Jackson offered high praise of the current team.
“They’re a great basketball team, and you’re not going to be ‘em putting together 12 minutes of quality basketball,” Jackson said. “You’ve got to play 48 minutes, be disciplined and pay attention to detail to have a legitimate chance. And even when you do that, they still can beat you. They’re that good.”