Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson on coaching in New York: “It’s a different animal”

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Mark Jackson knows a thing or two about New York — he played his college ball at St. John’s then played 500 games over seven seasons for the Knicks, most of them as their starting point guard.

Which is why some Knicks fans want him back as a coach now. That’s not happening — he is a complete oil and water mix with Phil Jackson, the team president. They are very different people. Very. Different philosophies on life, basketball and just about everything else. It’s not that either Jackson is wrong, it’s just a terrible fit.

But Jackson knows a few things about New York. And he talked about it and coaching in New York on an NBA Finals conference call Wednesday (Jackson is part of the broadcast team for ABC for the Finals, along with Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breem). Here is what Jackson said, as reported by Newsday.

“Everybody’s not made for New York City,” Jackson said during a conference call Wednesday promoting the NBA Finals on ABC. “That’s whether you’re management, whether you’re playing, whether you’re coaching.

“I remember as a kid watching very good to great players play other places, be traded to the Knicks and not be the same type of player, whereas some propelled when they got the opportunity to put on a Knick uniform. And it’s something about the fans. It’s something about the pressure. It’s something about the media.

“So to be quite honest, everybody is not built for it. It’s a different animal. It’s a different monster and it takes a special personality and a person understanding the things that come into play to a ’T’.”

When asked if he wanted to be that coach, Jackson dodged the question and said he thought Phil Jackson would find the right guy.

Phil thinks that guy is Derek Fisher. The two are expected to talk this week.

Jackson sees his job as far more than just hiring a coach or bringing in players (and keeping Carmelo Anthony around), it’s to change the culture of the Knicks organization. In the NBA you win from the top down — why do you think the same markets keep winning NBA titles. Yes, certain markets have advantages, but San Antonio isn’t one of them. Yet here they are in the Finals. Despite what some think Miami is a mid-sized NBA market. But both of them have an ownership committed to a system. The Knicks…. not so much.

Phil Jackson knows that is what he must change first. He also knows that is not going to be easy, and he needs the right coach to be his partner.

Mark Jackson is right too, New York is not for everyone. Not as a coach for sure. I don’t know if Derek Fisher is one of those guys or not, but we’re likely going to find out.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: