There have been rumblings throughout the season that Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson was on the hot seat. But when Jackson was fired on Tuesday, analysts and fans were puzzled as to why he was ultimately let go, with some believing that his Christian faith may have gotten him canned.
Golden State’s co-owner Rick Welts is openly gay, and Jackson was not enthusiastic about Jason Collins’ coming out, which may have complicated things even more in the gay-friendly bay area.
There are other reasons, as well, besides his dysfunctional staff. He and Brian Scalabrine clashed infamously. Lindsay Hunter was reportedly a cancer, as usual. And another coach secretly taped club meetings. Jackson and his wife are pastors at a church in Los Angeles, where Jackson preferred to live. He had an affair with a stripper, according to Deadspin, tried to extort money while another associate of his church, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, was busted for drug chargers. Jackson also indicated that he may have resigned anyway had he not been fired.
Jackson also did not embrace the motion offense that would have better fit his team, including Steph Curry. But his players went to battle for him, and his team played the postseason without big man Andrew Bogut. He took the perennial losers at Golden State to two straight playoffs. And co-owner Joe Lacob’s reasons for Jackson’s firing to the San Jose Mercury News leaves more questions than answers:
Look, I don’t think we should get into the great details of what did happen, other than to say that this is a decision that was based on what was good for the organization as a whole.
And when I say the organization as a whole I don’t mean just the team and just the 15 players that are involved and the coaching staff. I mean everybody. There’s 200 employees here.
So when we look at the organization going forward and the kind of coach we want and … not just the performance but everything else, all these factors matter. We took all that account.
Golden State’s next coach will be under pressure, as Jackson said, with a team loaded with talent. That could well be Steve Kerr — if he does not end up in New York. Kerr, the current TNT color man who played at Arizona and then in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense with the Bulls as a sharpshooter, is on good terms with Golden State’s management, has always loved California, and has a daughter who attends Berkeley.