Former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson is now sort of a punchline, the guy who was standing in the way of the best team of the past decade. Now Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson are multiple-time champions, and Jackson is back calling games.
Jackson famously had a comment in 2015 chastising young players for trying to emulate Curry. Essentially, Jackson said that he felt Curry had hurt the game of basketball with a combination of his influence and his unattainable skill.
Via NBC Bay Area:
“To a degree, he’s hurt the game,” Jackson said on ABC. “And what I mean by that is I go into these high school gyms, I watch these kids and the first thing they do is run to the three-point line. You are not Steph Curry.”
The team didn’t like that much, and the quote has been mocked as time has gone on. But now Green says he feels as though he can sort of see where Jackson was coming from.
Any opinion on Curry affecting high school basketball as a whole is, by definition, anecdotal. The only way you could prove Curry was hurting these kids’ decision-making would be to sample shot selection and ball movement, then compare it with prior data to find the trend. Even then, you’d have to show there was a downturn in efficiency from these supposed shifts, all of which is impossible to put into reality.
Who knows if Curry has poisoned the minds of basketball youth? Anecdotally, it seems to me that many high school coaches are hardass goobers, the likes of which will pull you for a simple mistake (or in the case of one coach I knew, would pull you if you shot a 3-pointer at all).
This probably just amounts to “kids these days” from Green, which does start happening to you when you hit a certain age. Green is only 28, so perhaps this is a little young for him to be lamenting how it used to be “in the good old days”. There have been ballhog jerks for as long as basketball has existed, and if those kids are now taking 3-pointers instead of contested floaters maybe the math will work out in the positive?
All I know is I don’t think Curry is damaging to high school kids. Most of my high school ball intake these days comes in the form of the Les Schwab Invitational, and it seems to me that teams from all over the country still work in pretty similar ways to when they did when I was in high school not so long ago. Rigid systems still feel like they’re the guiding way in high school ball, and if anything the writers I was with at LSI this year were surprised there wasn’t more 3-point shooting.
Keep shooting your shot, kids. You’re our only hope.