Mark Jackson (basketball) : biography
Mark A. Jackson (born April 1, 1965) is an American basketball coach and former NBA player who is the current head coach of the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. A point guard from St. John's University, he played for the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Toronto Raptors, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets in the NBA in a career spanning from 1987 to 2004.
After retiring from playing basketball, Jackson became a broadcast commentator for ESPN and ABC alongside his former coach Jeff Van Gundy and play-by-play man Mike Breen. He also worked as an analyst for The YES Network's New Jersey Nets games. In 2011, the Golden State Warriors hired Jackson as head coach.
Mark Jackson was born in Brooklyn, New York. Jackson was regarded as one of the nation's elite point guards while attending Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn under coach Patrick Quigley. Jackson gained a reputation as a streetballer in New York and a college hoops star at St. John's University. While at St. John's, he played alongside Olympian and NBA All-Star Chris Mullin for one year. He credits Mullin with teaching him the importance of rigorous practice work in the gym.
While at St. John's, Jackson had the unusual habit while at the free-throw line of extending his hand and "cupping" his thumb and index finger around the rim. This helped him stay focused on the rim while shooting foul shots. He continued this well into his pro career and it helped him to a career 77.0% free-throw percentage.
Jackson was the 18th pick of the 1987 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. He teamed with Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley to turn the Knicks into a prime playoff team in the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, before the Knicks peaked and became regular playoff contenders, he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in 1992.
Jackson had a steady career with the Knicks, most notably under coach Rick Pitino, averaging 13.6 points and 10.6 assists per game in his rookie season, earning him the 1988 Rookie of the Year award, the lowest overall draft pick to win the award since Woody Sauldsberry in 1958. He is the only non-lottery pick to have won the award since the introduction of the system in 1985.
In 1989, Jackson had another promising season for the Knicks, teaming with Ewing to lead them to the Atlantic Division title and the number three seed in the east (behind the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland Cavaliers), and making his lone All-Star Game appearance. After sweeping Charles Barkley's Philadelphia team in the opening round, the Knicks faced the upstart Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Noteworthy in the series was near the end of game two, where Jackson en route to a fast break layup in the fourth quarter looked back and stuck out his tongue at Jordan before finishing the layup; Jordan responded with a 40+ PPG average the remainder of the series, and led Chicago to a 4-2 series victory. Following a contract extension prior to the 1990 season, Jackson began to lose his All-Star form; the loss of Pitino (who left to coach the University of Kentucky) and starting the season out of shape were key factors. Consequently, he began to face stiff competition from backup guard Maurice Cheeks, to the point where in their decisive first round game five against Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson and the Boston Celtics at the Boston Garden, Knick coach Stu Jackson decided to bench Mark Jackson for the entire game; New York went on to defeat Boston to advance to the second round, where they lost to the eventual champion Detroit Pistons in five games.
After the 1991-92 season, he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, a trade that saw Charles Smith and Doc Rivers go to the Knicks. While with the Clippers, Jackson teamed with Danny Manning, Ron Harper and head coach Larry Brown to lead the Clippers to two of their few playoff appearances of the 1990s (a feat that would not be repeated until 1997 and 2006).
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