Q&A with Mark Jackson -- Part 3


Q&A with Mark Jackson -- Part 3

The final component of a three-part Q&A with Warriors coach Mark Jackson.

In case you missed it: Part 1 Part 2

Question: Has it been good to have time together as a staff, spending lots of time together?Mark Jackson: Its been good. I think really thats overrated. I read about coaches and Im not your norm because youll probably never hear this from a regular coach but getting in at 6 in the morning and still going into the office late and Im like Really?I mean thats nice and its great to write about it and all that but at the end of the day what is it doing? Im dropping off the kids, Im having a good time, Im enjoying life. Im going to be prepared and were going to be prepared as a staff when this thing goes up.Like I told these guys, theres no sense coming in at 6 in the morning. Its fake hustle. I appreciate it. But for what? Enjoy life and make sure youre ready. This is not life. This is basketball. And Ill never get caught up in believing this is life.Question: Do you think that could come back and bite you with people saying he isnt as committed as he should be or its not important enough to him?Mark Jackson: They can write whatever they want. The bottom line is Im 100 percent committed in everything I do. You can get caught up in believing Im 20 percent head coach, 20 percent pastor, 20 percent husband, 20 percent dad, whatever. No, Im 100 percent all of those things.I dont shortchange or cheat any one of those labels. No. Im totally committed -- just because Im not going to slit my wrist because we lost three straight games or cuss guys out just because they didnt get back on defense.There are ways to do things. I truly believe that as a head coach if I cuss you out then you have every right to cuss me out. Youre a grown man with a wife and kid, and even if youre not youre a college student.How come you have the right as the head coach, just because you have that title, to cuss me out? Thats where we get it twisted. Well respect one another, well hold one another accountable, but were going to be professional. If I ask you to be that way then I should be that way. It makes it tough for somebody to cuss me out if Ive never cussed them out.Question: Did you ever have a coach that didnt cuss?Mark Jackson: No. I had some that cussed less than others. But no. But really, heres what the catch was. If I didnt say I havent said a cuss word in 20 years you would have never noticed. Youd overlook it.It wouldnt hit you till later on. And what it does, it challenges the people around you, too. I dont have to say Hey, I dont cuss, dont cuss. No. People around me all of sudden realize and, just out of respect, they start adjusting. I dont demand it because I understand that that could very easily be me, but its not. So I truly believe that youre either a thermostat or thermometer. You either control the environment or it controls you.Question: Talk about (assistant coach) Wes Unseld Jr.?Mark Jackson: Hes a great guy. He knows his stuff on both sides of the ball. Great personality. Hard worker. Another guy I hired on the spot. Interviewing him in L.A., I basically offered him the job. He took a couple of days to consider it. Being who he is and how good he is he had options.Im thankful and blessed that he took that job. I wanted loyal guys, I wanted committed guys, I wanted enthusiastic guys that knew their stuff. And he fit the mold.Hes a guy who didnt have two options, he probably had three or four options and some in the same seat would have taken what they thought was a better job with a better organization with a more proven situation. And he decided to take this one because he saw where were headed and what we were doing.Question: Unseld and Malone supposedly turned down jobs with the Lakers to come to Golden State.Mark Jackson: You think about it, those guys could have gone there and you could make the case that Mike made more money. Hed tell you today it had nothing to do with money and knowing him, I know thats right. We took two guys from them that really completed us and sent us to where were going. Just great hires.Question: You talk about leadership as a player do you ever see there being another player coach in the NBA?Mark Jackson: If it were up to me Id say yes. I think people are afraid of it. But Ive been on teams, with all due respect, I was the lead assistant. I ran the offense and I was the leader.There are guys that can do it. I just think people are locked up in a box and refuse to go another way because of what the norm seems to be. I would probably say no, but if it were up to me Id say it can and should be done.Question: It seems like a big part of it is managing personalities.Mark Jackson: If youre the leader of the team, youre doing a better job of managing the players than the coach. Im not going to name names, but leaders of teams manage players better than the coach.Question: Would it have to be the highest-paid player?Mark Jackson: No. Not at all. I cant name names, but there are guys who are leaders of their team and their voice is more impactful than the coach. I was a guy who wasnt the highest paid and I played with guys who were superstars and I was the voice. And I controlled those guys also.If youre a leader it doesnt have anything to do with the amount of money youre making. You just be that leader. Its even more challenging and more of a statement to your leadership ability that you dont make the most money. Because what does that have to do with it?Question: Are you born with that or can it be taught?Mark Jackson: I always thought you were thats a great question. I was born that way. Ive seen guys that have learned how to have leadership qualities by watching leaders and watcing what they do. I truly believe, in order to be successful you need to have great leaders or great followers because its the ones in the middle who get you killed.So if Im asking a guy on my team to be a leader, one way for him to do it is for me to instill in him leadership qualities. And to tell him how to do it. And if hes an extension of me then hes a leader. I really believe that by challenging guys you can birth that leadership ability thats already in them. But theyve never been challenged to be it. And were going to do that.Question: Have you discussed how youll name captains, and are captains overrated?Mark Jackson: To a certain extent. But sometimes being a captain releases something in you and forces you to get to the level youre supposed to be at. I believe the first year I was actually captain which is funny because Rick Pitino had the guys write who they thought should be captain on a piece of paper and put it in the basket. I always thought: was that the way the voting went or did he pull a fast one?But by any means necessary. I think its important who the leaders of your team are going to be. No matter what theyre talking about they cant just say it, they have to do it. And it doesnt have to be your best player. It has to be the right person who is doing, saying and acting on how things should be done.Question: Have you ever seen a guy who is the ninth or 10th man on a team who is a leader?Mark Jackson: Ive been on a team where that guy is crucial and plays a big leadership part. But hes not the leader. Weve seen teams be successful l cant say todays guy, but Kevin Willis. The spurs win a championship. Kevin Willis isnt the leader but hes a big man at the end of the bench thats making sure things are being done the right way -- through his experience, through his know-how, through understanding what the system is. So hes certainly a leader on that team. But hes not the leader and hes not the captain. In an ideal world its a guy whos getting it done in a major way.Question: Do you think youll play guys big minutes? Will you heavily monitor minutes?Mark Jackson: No. Its really a read and a feel. Obviously there are guys that can play big minutes in this league. But Im a guy that believes if were going to get it done on both sides of the basketball its going to take a lot of energy, some fresh guys at times to give others a breather.Ive been in situations where Ive played 40 minutes but I really took a breather on the floor at different spurts. No sense in us doing that if were trying to get to where were expected to get to.In all honesty, defensively if youre doing it right then at all times my foot is not on the gas pedal. So if the ball is on the strong side, Im just on the weak side in help position. Thats a time when I can get a breather.Im on alert but Im in a relaxed state, as opposed to chasing Reggie Miller around three screens and all of that.There are times and places within a game where you can get your rest. And even offensively even staying away from a guy, having him spaced out or in the corner, hes not in the action. You can get guys breathers during the game. So you can get a read.

After postponement due to HB2 law, Charlotte to host 2019 All-Star Game

After postponement due to HB2 law, Charlotte to host 2019 All-Star Game

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NBA All-Star game is headed back to Charlotte in 2019, a couple of years later than anticipated.

The NBA announced that the All-Star weekend will be held Feb. 15-17 in Charlotte and the game will be played at the Spectrum Center, home of the Charlotte Hornets.

The league had selected Charlotte to host the 2017 All-Star game, but later moved the game to New Orleans because of the state law restricting the rights of LGBT people. However, a compromise was struck in March to partially erase the impact of the House Bill 2 law limiting anti-discrimination protections for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people.

"While we understand the concerns of those who say the repeal of HB2 did not go far enough, we believe the recent legislation eliminates the most egregious aspects of the prior law," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a release. "Additionally, it allows us to work with the leadership of the Hornets organization to apply a set of equality principles to ensure that every All-Star event will proceed with open access and anti-discrimination policies.

"All venues, hotels and businesses we work with during All-Star will adhere to these policies as well."

Despite Silver's intentions, the Equality NC and the Human Rights Campaign has concerns that no protections for non-discrimination policies for the LGBTQ community have been put in place by the Charlotte or the state.

"North Carolina's discriminatory law prohibits the city of Charlotte from implementing non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ residents and visitors attending the All-Star Game. Nothing has changed that fact," said HRC senior vice president for policy and political affairs JoDee Winterhof.

The NBA is the latest sports entity to return events to North Carolina; the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference also are bringing events back to the state after changes were made to the law.

The now-repealed House Bill 2 required transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings. That's been dropped, but LGBT advocates have denounced the replacement law because state officials took no action barring sexual identity and gender discrimination in workplaces, restaurants and hotels and instead prohibited local governments from acting on their own.

Hornets owner and longtime NBA great Michael Jordan said in a release he is "thrilled" the game is coming back to Charlotte.

"We want to thank Commissioner Silver for his leadership throughout this process and for the decision to bring NBA All-Star back to Buzz City," Jordan said in the release. "All-Star Weekend is an international event that will provide a tremendous economic impact to our community while showcasing our city, our franchise and our passionate Hornets fan base to people around the world."

Jordan asked Silver to keep the city in mind for 2019 after the league moved the 2017 game - hopeful the HB2 law would eventually be repealed.

Silver honored that request.

Hornets COO and president Fred Whitfield represented the Hornets and Spectrum Center in doing whatever he could to help facilitate a resolution, spending time meeting with legislatures and other business leaders in North Carolina.

"From the very beginning I was in engaged to see if we could not only save the 2019 All-Star game, but the NCAA (basketball) regionals and the ACC Tournament, as well as concerts and events in the building," Whitfield said. "We are operators of the building and we felt like we had to get engaged to assist to get some resolution."

Even as talks to repeal HB2 stalled at times, the Hornets continued to move forward with the league's request to upgrade the arena.

The $41 million renovation - $33.5 million of which came from the City of Charlotte - is almost complete, and has included a new scoreboard, new floor and renovations to suites and hospitality areas, among other upgrades.

Charlotte previously hosted the All-Star game in 1991 at the Charlotte Coliseum, which has since been demolished.

Pete Guelli, the Hornets executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, estimates a $100 economic impact for the city, but said the reputational effect will be even bigger.

"This city has changed significantly since the last time it hosted a game 28 years ago," Guelli said, "and the opportunity to showcase that on an international stage is incalculable."

Ty Lue: Celtics 'harder to defend' than Warriors

Ty Lue: Celtics 'harder to defend' than Warriors

The Warriors possess four 2017 All-Stars, three 2017 All-NBA team members and had the highest-scoring offense during the offense. They are 12-0 this postseason and have won those 12 games by an average of 16.3 points.

The Celtics lost All-NBA point guard Isaiah Thomas for the rest of the postseason and don't have another All-Star on the roster.

But for Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, it sounds like he has an easier time scheming to defend the Warriors.

"The stuff (the Celtics are) running, it's harder to defend than Golden State's (offense) for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it's a totally different thing. Like, they hit the post, Golden State runs splits and all that stuff but these guys are running all kinds of (stuff). And Brad's (Stevens) got them moving and cutting and playing with pace and everybody is a threat," Lue said Wednesday, according to Cleveland.com.

The Cavs rallied to beat the Celtics in Game 4 on Tuesday night to take a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Despite the commanding series lead, Lue isn't looking ahead of a potential NBA Finals matchup with the Warriors.

"You can't. As much as you want to, it's not over," Lue told reporters.

The Cavs have a chance to wrap up the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday when they face the Celtics in Boston.

The NBA Finals begin June 1 in Oakland.