2nd Team PG: Mark Jackson

  • Stats from 1987 to 1992; 2001 to 2002:  
  • 11.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 8.0 APG, 1.4 STL 

Seeing Mark Jackson travel from St. John’s University to play professionally at The Garden was a dream come to life for many New Yorkers.

With the Knicks, Jackson was the NBA Rookie of the Year (1988) and an NBA All-Star (1989), amassing the most assists (935) in the 1996-97 season with the Indiana Pacers.  Now an NBA analyst and former coach of the Golden State Warriors, Jackson, a playmaker with tremendous playoff pedigree, is ranked fourth on the all-time assists list, with 10,323.

Under head coach Rick Pitino, Jackson averaged 13.6 points and 10.6 assists per game, earning the 1988 Rookie of the Year.  As the 18th overall pick in the 1987 NBA Draft, Jackson holds the distinction of being the lowest draft pick ever to win the league’s Rookie of the Year award.

In the 1989-90 season, Jackson lead a Knicks’ attack as point guard of the Eastern Conference’s 5th seed, shocking the 4-seed Boston Celtics, who finished seven games ahead of New York in the standings, by besting them in five games, winning Game 5 on the road 121-114.  The result ultimately avenged a four-game series loss from two years prior.

Despite playoff success with New York in the thick of the Detroit Pistons’ Bad Boy era, Jackson was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers in 1992, where he would lead the Clips to their second straight playoff berth, a feat they would not accomplish for another twenty years.

Jackson, who felt spurned in leaving New York, would get revenge against them with the Indiana Pacers, who, in pairing with Reggie Miller, would beat his former Knicks in the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals, a seven-game series victory that was the focal point of ESPN’s 30 for 30 film Winning Time:  Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks.

Jackson would reunite with the Knicks again in 2001-02, only to lose in the playoffs to the Toronto Raptors, the team that dealt him away at the trade deadline.

Irascible and diminutive, Jackson was an entertaining Knick to follow.  Alas, New York has not had a point guard of his caliber since his departure, something never quite rectified in the James Dolan era.

I am an English teacher, music and film aficionado, husband, father of two delightful boys, writer, sports fanatic, former Long Islander, and follower of Christ. Based on my Long Island upbringing, I was groomed as a Yankees, Giants, Rangers, and Knicks fan, and picked up Duke basketball, Notre Dame football, and Tottenham Hotspur football fandom along the way.