Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Used to Hate Mark Jackson's Guts

It's a good thing I changed my ways, because there's a chance he'll be the next coach of the Suns (I'll stick with the guy who used to wear taped glasses as my prediction.) Enough of this coach talk though, take a seat on the carpet, grab your favorite pillow and blanket and get comfortable. It's story time.

I'm sitting on a friend's couch, getting ready for the start of a Finals game between the Lakers and Pacers in the year 2000. Before the game NBC has a feature on Mark Jackson (the Pacers point guard at the time) and his dad. There's a quick promotion for it and they cut to commercial.

My friends and I use this time to complain about Mark Jackson and his game, especially his need to back down his man on what seemed like every possession. This made me insane at the time and looking back, it still does.

The commercials stop, the fantastic NBA on NBC music kicks on and we're all ready for this story to begin so we can rip on Jackson even more. What happened next wasn't exactly what we planned for.

I don't recall the specifics, but Jackson's dad had recently passed away and he and his father had an incredibly strong relationship. Within 30 seconds of the piece starting, we all had our mouths shut and were listening intently to Jackson speak about his father and how much he meant to him.

This wasn't your standard ESPN Sunday Conversation nonsense, this was a very, very moving story, with a man pouring his heart out on national TV. When NBC cut to commercial as the segment reached its conclusion, I looked around the room at my half dozen friends and they were all doing the same thing I was...gulping hard and fighting back tears.

The moral of the story? While it's easy to hate the guts of a player (Kobe, Manu, Parker, Duncan...), it's also easy to respect them. Sometimes it just takes a sappy but moving background story to help us in the right direction. I don't know if the Suns will hire Mark Jackson but if they do so, his character will never be questioned at any point in his tenure.

if anyone can find the video, let me know. I'd love to see it again, especially to find out if it's as good as I remember

1 comment:

John said...

Reminds me how I used to disparage a certain UA player. Then met him and he was outstanding. And did I mention his wife was a 10+
Papa John