Mark Jackson has been a well known figure in the NBA on and off the hardwood. Playing close to 1,300 games, he ranks third all-time in assists with 10,334 trailing the greats of Earvin Magic Johnson and John Stockton. Once retired in 2004 a new career path developed as a television analyst on Yes Network then ABC. Jackson’s stock rose with his knowledge of the game and fluid ability to breakdown situationals as well as his famous sayings, “Hand down, man down!” and “Mama there goes that man!” However, he still anxiously waited to fill a vacant coaching position to achieve a second dream of his. In a matter of months, Mark went from on air analysis of the NBA Finals to head coach of the Golden State Warriors on June 6, 2011.
An opportunity of a lifetime has surfaced with the chance to coach a young and exciting team as the only rookie head coach in the Association. The Warriors are one of the youngest teams in the league and have great potential. Star players Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry have the team very efficient on offense, being one of the top three point shooting teams in 2011. The group who can light it up offensively lacks defensive discipline. Coach Jackson brings a new outlook to the Bay with the idea of defense being the first principle that is followed. If defense is played effectively, it will translate to more points and easier opportunities on offense. With no compromise to scoring, a stout defense can help the team become a contender in the Western Conference.
It has always been known that players around the league have respect for Coach Jack. He still maintains a great relationship with players of all calibers. A very important trait in a successful coach is gaining the trust of your team. By the first two games, it appears the young Warriors are buying into the system. The second game in a back-to-back was the inaugural win of his coaching career. Golden State defeated Chicago 99-91 led by Stephen Curry’s 21 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and six steals. Jackson at 46 years old is the eighth youngest coach in the league, as well as the coach who has played the most games as a player.