Mark Jackson has no regrets about his three-year stint as Golden State Warriors coach and hopes to coach again, but for now he’s glad to be back in ABC’s three-man booth that is covering the NBA Finals.
It’s a victory for viewers, who get the strong views of the former NBA star guard, who meshes well with former NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen, the NBA’s best play-by-play announcer.
“Well, I do look forward to coaching one day if it presents itself again,” Jackson, 49, said in a conference call Wednesday. “Right now I’m having a blast being back with my crew. I’m fortunate and thrilled to death to be back. If the opportunity presents itself, I look forward to coaching again.”
Van Gundy, 52, a former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets coach, certainly would provide him with with a reference for his coaching job with the Warriors.
“He came in there and remade them,” Van Gundy said. “Who would have thought Golden State would become an elite defensive team?
“Defense in this league is about coaching and the ability to protect the basket, and I was utterly amazed how quickly Mark transformed them from a porous defense into an elite defense, and taking them to 47, 51 wins.”
Jackson’s return to the booth means less air time for the self-defacing Van Gundy, known for his quirky, unpredictable comments.
“Basketball fans in America are applauding the three-man booth so they don’t have to listen to my inane rants,” Van Gundy said. “And believe me, no one is upset, myself included, that I do less talking.”
Jackson said the friendly interaction between the two comes across as though they are sitting together at a restaurant, instead of courtside.
“We’re going to grab different topics, we’re going to have different opinions, we’re going to be honestly and respectfully agree or disagree, and it’s going to be entertaining.”
The pair are looking forward to calling the NBA Finals, which begin at 8 p.m. Thursday in San Antonio.
Van Gundy noted Spurs guard Tony Parker’s health might determine the outcome.
“If he’s healthy, obviously, the Spurs have a great opportunity. If he’s hobbled, I think Miami has a better opportunity. I think both teams are missing some people who had a major impact on last year’s series. Gary Neal had some great moments for San Antonio. Mike Miller, obviously, had some great moments, had a great run for Miami.”