Say what you will about Mark Jackson.
His stagnant offensive scheme belongs in an era far gone. His abrasive personality makes him a poor fit as the face of a franchise.
And his intolerant belief system openly flaunts a message of welcoming that the league constantly champions. All true, and all fair.
But it’s still heartwarming to see the former Golden State Warriors coach fight back tears as he describes what it’s like to watch Steph Curry and company near the basketball mountaintop. Jackson is something closer to a villain in the Bay Area than he is a hero, but his role in this team’s ascent to Western Conference Champion and prohibitive title favorite can’t go overlooked.
It was Jackson who put the ball in Curry’s hands when so many still considered him an undersized off-guard. Jackson who led Golden State to its first playoff appearance after a five-season drought. Jackson who made Northern California excited about the blue-and-gold again. And Jackson who helped ensure the Warriors’ job was attractive enough for Steve Kerr to spurn Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks.
He won’t get the glory or adulation, but Golden State’s current success is indeed marked by his fingerprints. And it’s great to know Jackson isn’t as presumptuous about that reality as he often appears in public, too.