74 Reasons to Get Excited for the 74th NBA Season: Reason 51

Reason 51: Mark Jackson back on the court

Only about a decade ago, we were watching Mark Jackson and the Indiana Pacers square off against the New York Knicks and Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in some entertaining Eastern Conference playoffs. The Knicks-Pacers series in particular caught the eye of most fans as must watch TV. These teams met six times during the 1993-2000 NBA seasons.  Though Reggie Miller may have gotten the hype as “The Knick Killer,” it was the acquisition of point guard Mark Jackson from the Los Angeles Clippers that helped the Pacers answer the previous two years playoff exits. 2000 marked the first year in franchise history that the Indiana Pacers reached the NBA finals, only to lose in six games to Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Mark Jackson was a big reason for the Indiana Pacers success in that decade. He is currently ranked 13th on the NBA all-time games list (1,296), 26th on the all-time minutes played list (39,121), 77th on the all-time three-point field goals made list (734), 65th on the all-time 3-point field goal attempts list (2,213), 3rd on the all-time assists list (10,323) and 23rd on the all-time steals list (1,608). He never achieved great individual success but you could always pencil him in to the starting lineup of whichever team he was rostered on. Jackson was also a team leader and the “quarterback” of his offense. Jackson is also notable for prompting an NBA rule change. In response to his knack for backing down opposing point guards in the post for 15 or more seconds at a time, the league instituted the five second rule, or the “Mark Jackson rule.” He is also known for perfecting the “tear drop” shot, when smaller guards shoot over much larger defenders. His career spanded two countries, playing for six different NBA organizations.

The past three seasons, Jackson has been an NBA analyst for the YES Network covering the New Jersey Nets, as well as for ABC. He brought charisma and excitement, jawing back and forth with Jeff Van Gundy. Now he will be back on the court as head coach of the Golden State Warriors, a young team needing someone with NBA experience and energy. Star guards Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry will benefit the most from Mark being hired. There will be no need to have a rebuilding year with this roster. The 2011 season should be an exciting one for the Golden State Warriors.

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