By: Darius Williams
When researching the base definition of “jealous”, one of the many scripted examples reads, “Having to do with or arising from feelings of envy, apprehension or bitterness”. It is said that some level of jealousy comfortably rests within us all. The simplicity of wanting what others have can easily bring on this ugly trait.
While tuned into Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, I ventured into thought of just how ABC’s color commentator for this series and former Golden State coach Mark Jackson must feel. Just 13 months removed by Warriors management from his post as head coach, he finds himself having the best seat in the house calling the games action a mere 50 feet away from the team he basically built himself.
Jackson’s dismissal on May 6, 2014 came as a shock to most who closely follow the NBA. After three years on the job, he had managed to miraculously turn around a historically dormant franchise. Under his leadership the Warriors had become a very good team. One that looked to be on the brink championship contention for many years to come. Of course there were the whispers of discord between the team’s front office and Jackson, but having won 51 games last season it was thought that a franchise who had not cross the 50 win mark in 22 years would with a doubt work through such minor issues. After falling short in a tightly contested seven games in their first round series to the Los Angeles Clippers, ownership decided they needed to go in another direction. Out went Jackson and in came Steve Kerr.
Putting myself in Jackson’s shoes, I ask myself if I could remain unbiased in my feelings as I commentate this Finals series? Probably not, I’m just not that forgiving to unjust treatment. It has to be extremely tough for him to take on the task of remaining down the middle while doing his job this series. He without a doubt wants the best for those 10 players on the current roster that he coached. However, I do not believe those same sentiments are extended to the very management group that rendered him unemployed briefly. Quickly I think back some 21 years ago to a time when I was relieved of my duties with Ben E. Kieth Beers, a major distributor for Anheuser Busch. Forever ranked #1 amongst consumed beer in America, I so wanted failure for the company as I was being escorted out the building. Although this wish would have directly affected the many friends I had made at the company, it didn’t matter to me. I had longed for the distributors of Old English 800 and Colt 45 to knock them off their throne.
Game 4 ended with a Warriors victory. I wasn’t really able to detect any biased sway in Jackson’s commentating. I guess you can chalk it up to his professionalism. I on the other hand would find it hard to want success for the Warriors if I was him. The millions of viewers tuned in would undoubtedly hear a few emphatic “YES!” and “In Yo Face” cheers under my breath with every made jump shot by Cleveland’s LeBron James. I know I’m not alone in admitting this because we all have a reasonable amount of jealousy in us. Jackson will be in such an awkward position should Golden State win the title. He will find himself having to stand with his team in celebration. He will at some point have to ask the man who replaced him how he feels about winning it all with his team. He will have to put on a smile while he holds the microphone next to Warriors owner Joe Lacob as he looks like a genius for replacing you and winning a world championship. That’s enough to make him rush to the nearest watering hole to drown his sorrows in a few pints of beer. If that is the route he chooses to take, I just hope that those pints aren’t Budweiser or any other Anheuser Busch product.