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New Golden State Warriors' coach Mark Jackson listens as he's introduced by Warriors' owner Joe Lacob during a press conference introducing Jackson at the St. Regis Hotel on Friday, June 10, 2011 in San Francisco, Calif. Jackson had a 17-year career as a point guard, first drafted by his hometown New York Knicks in 1987. (Jane Tyska/Staff)

It didn't take long to understand why the Warriors hired Mark Jackson as their new head coach.

Before a throng of media Friday at an upscale San Francisco hotel, Jackson captured the room with his personality, popped his collar with his basketball pedigree and raised the bar with bold proclamations. He displayed the kind of chops and swagger that would make Muhammad Ali proud.

"It is a great day," Jackson said at his Bay Area introduction. "Not only for me, but for this organization, for this fan base. Because the Bay Area will never be the same.

"We're not going to accept mediocrity. We're not going to accept not getting it done on the floor. "... You might as well hitch onto the back of the bandwagon because things gon' be a-changing."

Of course, he'll quickly become more like Bundini Brown unless he brings some production with that prose.

The Warriors announced Jackson's hiring Monday after he agreed to a three-year, $6 million deal plus a fourth year that features a buyout option. Golden State's seven-week search for a coach began April 25 when the Warriors parted ways with Keith Smart.

Friday was the first opportunity for Jackson and Warriors officials -- namely co-owner Joe Lacob, general manager Larry Riley and board member Jerry West -- to explain how Jackson became the 19th coach in the West Coast era of Warriors basketball.

Jackson met with Riley, Lacob and West before he was offered the job. He impressed Warriors brass so much that Lacob decided not to personally interview Dwane Casey or Lawrence Frank, two other known candidates.


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Lacob and his management team said they believe Jackson is the right guy for the job even though he's never been a coach at any level. Lacob summed it up in one word: leadership.

"I was a leader when my mom gave birth to me," Jackson said, later adding, "I come from a long line of great coaches, and I've stolen from each one."

Jackson said he makes up for his inexperience as a head coach with the experience he gained playing in the NBA for 17 years, and the knowledge he gleaned from the coaches he played for.

Those coaches include Lou Carnesecca at St. John's, Rick Pitino and Pat Riley while with the New York Knicks, Larry Brown with the Los Angeles Clippers and Indiana Pacers, Lenny Wilkens with the Toronto Raptors, and Jerry Sloan with the Utah Jazz.

What's more, Jackson said he learned during pregame production meetings as an analyst for ESPN and ABC, talking with the game's best coaches.

Another way he plans to compensate for his inexperience is by hiring assistant coaches who are prepared to be head coaches. His first hire was Michael Malone as his lead assistant. Malone also was introduced Friday.

Jackson and Malone emphasized that defense will be the focus of Warriors basketball. Jackson said those who don't contribute defensively won't play.

The commitment to defense, Lacob and Larry Riley said, is what convinced them that Jackson understands what it takes to win.

Jackson's passion was another selling point. Lacob and Riley believe he has the ability to get players to play for him, to commit to defense, to put in the work. They believe he has the personality and relationship skills to maximize the team's potential.

And Jackson's gift for of gab, on full display Friday, also helped.

"I really believe the power of life and death is in the tongue," Jackson said. "I'm going to speak life into this into this situation. I'm going to speak positivity into this situation. I'm going to speak greatness into this situation. I'm not going to speak negative because I wasn't part of any negativity here. I can only tell you what's going to happen from this point forward.

"We will be a playoff basketball team. We will be an exciting team. We will be a high-scoring team. We will be a defending team. We will hold each other to a higher standard."

  • Asked about Monta Ellis, the subject of much trade speculation, Jackson said: "I want Monta Ellis on this basketball team. This guy is a big-time player. And I think he's the third best shooting guard in the league. You have Kobe (Bryant) obviously and Dwyane Wade. I will match (Ellis) up against anybody else on a given night and feel extremely comfortable about it."