Current ESPN NBA analyst Mark Jackson hasn't coached in the league since 2014, but that's not diminishing his confidence about being back on the sideline at some point. Jackson's last run as head coach was with the Golden State Warriors from 2011 to 2014, during which time he helped to turn them from a lottery team into a playoff contender. He was replaced by Steve Kerr, who led the team to five straight Finals appearances (2015-2019) and three titles.
"I truly believe that the day will come when I have the opportunity to walk the sidelines again and lead a basketball team," Jackson said during his recent appearance on Showtime's "All The Smoke" podcast with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes. "For three years in Golden State, I had the time of my life impacting players, developing relationships and changing a culture. I truly was blessed to do that, and I look forward to the opportunity to do it again."
Former Warriors forward Andre Iguodala has previously suggested that Jackson has been blackballed from the NBA due to his religious beliefs.
"One particular issue was [Jackson's] views on gender or marriage or what the bible says on your sexuality," Iguodala said on Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club last June, via Sports Illustrated. "The head of our business Rick Welts ... he's celebrated as one of the top execs in sports, on the business side, and he's gay, so there was conflicts with that that was widespread ... [Jackson] was one of my favorite coaches of all time. He was going to put you in the best position to make the most money. There was players that got paid because of him that shouldn't have gotten paid."
For what it's worth, Jackson shot down the idea that he was being boxed out from making a return as a head coach.
"I don't believe that no man can blackball me," Jackson said. "That door will open up and the opportunity will present itself and I'll be lock and loaded and fully prepared."
Clearly Jackson has faith that his NBA coaching days aren't completely behind him. Before an opportunity can potentially present itself to Jackson, however, the league first has to figure out how it plans to proceed in the immediate future as play has been suspended since March 11 due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus. This is also a topic that Jackson touched on with Jackson and Barnes.
"I like the idea of shortening the earlier series, going back to the best out of five or something like that to make sure that we're able to get all of these series in," Jackson said. "But I like the idea of playing real basketball and having the playoffs play out once we get back to it."
Whenever basketball does get back to business as usual, some teams will inevitably be looking for a new sideline voice, and perhaps Jackson will then finally get the opportunity that he's been waiting for.