Mark Jackson isn’t coaching in the NBA for a reason. During the Christmas Day rematch between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, Jackson put on public display to the entire nation one reason he’s now behind a booth, and not on the bench. He thinks reigning MVP and recently named 2015 AP Male Athlete of the Year Stephen Curry could be hurting the game of basketball, and its future.
Keep in mind, this is the same man who once was Curry’s head coach, until he was sacked by ownership for having a poor relationship with his counterparts.
During last year’s NBA Finals matchup between the two teams, LeBron James proclaimed himself the best basketball player in the world. A reasonably fair assessment, and few would disagree with him. At the end of the series, Golden State emerged victorious, and LeBron was left with yet another asterisk on his record, failing to capture that oh-so-wanted championship for his hometown Cleveland fans.
Curry, during a recent interview with Time magazine, said that title now belongs to him. His fellow teammates who share court with Curry don’t disagree.
“He should believe that, and he is,” said teammate Draymond Green. “I think the team agreed with that, and we’re rolling with him.”
LeBron might disagree with the sentiment, and while he’s in no hurry to relinquish his mantle, he does agree that Curry is an incredible athlete, and an even better person. He thinks the NBA could use more players like Curry.
“He is a special player, a special talent, a special person more than anything, and I think it’s great for our league,” James said.
Here’s what Jackson had to say about Curry during his game broadcast on ABC: “Steph Curry’s great. Steph Curry’s the MVP. He’s a champion. Understand what I’m saying when I say this. To a degree, he’s hurt the game. And what I mean by that is I go into these high school gyms, I watch these kids and the first thing they do is run to the three-point line. You are not Steph Curry. Work on the other aspects of the game.”
He added: “People think that he’s just a knock-down shooter. That’s not why he’s the MVP. He’s a complete basketball player.”
These comments made Curry chuckle a bit, but he was seen visibly confused by the comment from his ex-coach. “I have to talk to him,” Curry said. “I don’t know what he means by that. If you can shoot, shoot. If you can’t, stop.”
Just like when he declared himself the world’s best player, Curry’s teammates felt the need to chime in with their opinion of the matter. Center Andrew Bogut, who has a noted tumultuous relationship with the former Warriors head coach, was not amused by Jackson’s remarks.
“Anything he says, you can take that with a grain of salt,” Bogut said. “And you can quote me on that.”
Quote you we will, Andrew. And agree with you at the same time, most likely.
David Barclay is a Bay Area sports insider for byteclay.com. E-mail: email@example.com Twitter: @DJamesIII