When Golden State hired Mark Jackson last year as head coach I mentioned that I didn't care for him and I was very glad the Timberwolves hadn't hired him. Something about the way he spoke just rubbed me the wrong way.
To me, he came across as unusually arrogant and self-impressed, even by pro athlete and coach standards. And his particular package of arrogance came wrapped in paper of intertwining doves and dollar signs with a nice big Christ bow on top.
(I should say that I grew up in Christian churches, which were filled with many fine, humble folks, so this kind of personality has always been especially grating to me because it seems so contrary to the "savior" that is supposedly being followed.)
However, I only had a general impression of Mr Jackson and wouldn't have been able to really put my finger on the specifics if he hadn't given this awesome interview after he was hired. I'll pick out a few of the best quotes below the jump and share the tremendous gift Mr Jackson has given us all in the last 24 hours.
"I'm not going to limit myself to being a coach. I'm not going to limit myself to being a pastor," he said. "There are times when I'm going to be a coach, a friend, a dad, a pastor, a listener, a helper, a guide."
Wow. His non-Christian players must have been thrilled to hear that he will be offering to be their pastor and guide in addition to being their coach.
And just to make this perfectly clear, for Mark Jackson being an NBA coach is not about winning games, oh no, this is something much larger.
"I believe that I was called to coach the Warriors and use that platform, so the pressure is not on me to do it."
In other words, God chose him to be coach so he can preach and in fact Mark doesn't even have to be concerned, because God is just gonna take care of things.
But the capper, the money quote, is this gem:
"Sometimes folks will stumble into blessings because of the overflow of favor on my life. An old pastor said, 'Favor ain't fair, but it sure is fabulous.' "
Yes, Mark Jackson is supremely blessed. And if you spend time near him then you may be hit by the back spray of favor overflowing even Mark's generous favor reservoir walls. But be careful, it can be slippery.
Fortunately he and his old pastor recognize that this kind of favor is not fair...but c'mon, it's fucking awesome! And to all you non-believers: deal with it! He'll be in his black Escalade with the SONOGOD license plate and the Blessinem crucifix rims on his way to the soup kitchen and HE CAN'T HEAR YOU!
Fast forward to yesterday and it turns out I'm not the only person Mark Jackson had been rubbing the wrong way. The Smoking Gun published a report that a former stripper in New York had multiple photos of Mark Jackson's genitalia, procured during the course of their affair 6 years earlier. An affair which occurred during the middle of Mark Jackson's 22 year marriage to his wife and co-pastor Desiree Coleman.
The former stripper extorted Jackson for money in exchange for not publishing the photos. Jackson paid her $5,000 and attempted to pay more to "settle it once and for all"...but once the extortionists contacted his wife he called in the FBI who arrested the former stripper and her accomplice.
- Jackson paid $5,000 cash for a folder with photos of his junk and a CD which contained incriminating voice messages. And he then destroyed the folder and CD...because there was no way anyone could have made back-up copies of either, what with the skyrocketing price of blank CDs these days.
- On the day of the $5,000 being handed over the stripper texted her accomplice, who was making the pick-up, the following: "Concentrate and fuck him up! he is a Fake ass man of god". She got the second part right, but it's kinda sad when you need to tell your pick-up man to concentrate. Does he have ADD? Is he likely to get distracted?
- Jackson didn't just pay the accomplice $5,000, he also threw in a pair of tickets for the Warriors game that night. But the accomplice knew that was messed up and texted back to the former stripper "This nigga left me some tickets smh." Yes, even an ex-con knows it's a bad idea to give him your tickets.
"Hey, coach Jackson, who is that sitting in your seats tonight?" "Oh, that's some dude who knows this former stripper I used to bang. He had some naked photos of me, but I gave him 5 grand and those tickets - it's all cool, we're gonna hang out afterward and I'm gonna share a little Gospel with him, help him get straight."
- The email account the stripper and ex-con used to pressure Jackson for more money was firstname.lastname@example.org. The 7th commandment being "Do not commit adultery". That means that email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org were both already taken.
A few things we are likely to learn in the near future:
- It only happened this one time. Mark Jackson has never been unfaithful before or since.
- This will only make him stronger, his marriage stronger and his ministry stronger. Pretty much anything you can imagine: stronger.
- What a fantastic story to reference in his sermons and time-out huddles when he needs to get parishoners or player's attention. "You think you know hard times? You think you know pressure? How about a folder full of photos of your junk and voicemails to your ex-mistress that you sent and someone threatening to send them to your wife or publish them online if you don't pay 'em 200 grand?! That's pressure! That's hard times! Now go out and spread the word of God...or hit the corner 3 off of the ball-screen. On 3: 1! 2! 3! Break!"
In the end all I can say is "Thank You". Thank You, Mark Jackson, for the comedy, for the schadenfreude, for the reminder that sometimes karma works out and most of all for the tremendous overflow of favor we have all experienced just being near you.