Even though the NBA did right by getting rid of Donald Sterling, that doesn’t mean everything is hunky-dory as far as race relations are concerned. We were reminded of that today when the Golden State Warriors decided to fire Mark Jackson as head coach.
While I won’t go as far as to say the Warriors are a racist organization, it’s difficult to come up with another reason for why Mark Jackson was fired. This is a man who got improved results each of his three years as coach. This season, Golden State won 51 games — their most wins in 22 years. Before he went to Oakland, the franchise was an annual cellar dweller.
It’s not a secret that it can be difficult for black coaches to get jobs in the NBA. While a majority of the players are black, the vast majority of the coaches are white. The reality is impossible to ignore: If you’re a former NBA player who happens to be white, your chances of getting a head coaching job in the league are greatly enhanced.
And even when black coaches get the job, they are held up to impossibly high standards. Mark Jackson is just the latest example. Last year, for instance, Lionel Hollins led the Memphis Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals — yet he still lost his job.
This year, the Grizzlies were led by a white coach and were ousted in the first round. Next season, don’t be surprised if the Warriors take a similar step backwards.
In the coming hours and days, we will surely hear stories insinuating that Mark Jackson wasn’t qualified for the job by pointing to his game preparation, practice schedule and other BS. The Warriors will use black stereotypes (lazy, aloof, money hungry, etc.) to hush their critics. And the media will likely eat it up.
But those of us who can see the truth can see that Mark Jackson didn’t get a fair shake — and we know why that is.