Golden State Warriors color commentator Jim Barnett appeared on KNBR Friday morning to discuss the latest happenings around the team, including the Steve Kerr hiring, and of course, the Mark Jackson firing.
In his interview with the “Murph and Mac” show, Barnett said that he supported the coaching change, and revealed that he was never able to attend practice.
“I never was able to go to a practice,” he said (transcript via Bay Area Sports Guy). “We were banned from practice that way. We weren’t part of the group. I always felt like it was Mark Jackson against the world. It was us against them and he had that kind of philosophy. And therefore, I don’t know Mark Jackson any better today than I knew him three years ago.”
Those quotes are telling of the culture that Jackson created in Golden State. There is no doubt that he supported and treated his players extremely well, but may have took it too far by creating an “us against the world” mentality. Everyone, including the front office and even team broadcasters, was an enemy, and the only “good guys” were the players.
When that happens, it is only a matter of time before the inevitable occurs. Jackson may have achieved success on the court, but in any kind of business, you cannot upset your bosses or coworkers and expect to keep your job. The fiasco with the two assistant coaches is a prime example. The reported spat with assistant GM Kirk Lacob is another, and so is how he wanted Jerry West and Barnett (and others, whoever Barnett implied by “we”) to stay away from practice. I mean, who the hell bans Jerry West and Jim Barnett from practice?
The bottom line is that Jackson crossed the line. Multiple lines. And if you listen to Barnett’s interview, you’ll be able to understand that perspective even more.