Former NBA star Jalen Rose, who currently serves as an analyst for ESPN, slammed legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson over the weekend after Jackson blasted the NBA last week.
Jackson said that the NBA had become too political and had tried to cater to a “certain audience” ever since 2020 and that, in doing so, it had turned off a lot of people, including himself.
Rose responded to Jackson’s remarks in a video on Sunday, saying: “You can’t make this up.”
“Hall of Fame coach and 11-time champion Phil Jackson claims to have stopped supporting the NBA because it became ‘too political’ when it went into the bubble and was catering to certain audiences by putting slogans on the back of jerseys and Black Lives Matter on the floor,” Rose said. “The same Phil Jackson that won championships with some of the greatest Black athletes in the history of the game – Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant. Made millions on their backs and off their sweat equity.”
“You’re sitting there watching the game with your grandkids and y’all think it’s funny when justice passes the ball to equal opportunity,” he continued. “When somebody shows you who they are, believe them.”
“So, stop watching … forever,” he added.
Rose’s remarks come after Jackson said that he no longer enjoyed watching the NBA and that an entire generation was sick of political issues being promoted by the NBA.
Jackson specifically referenced when the NBA traveled to Orlando during the pandemic and created a “bubble” for teams to play in so they could play out their seasons with minimal interruptions.
“All the teams that could qualify went down there and stayed down there, no audience, and they had things on their back like ‘Justice’ and a funny thing happened,” Jackson said. “They made a funny thing like, ‘Justice just went to the basket and Equal Opportunity just knocked him down.’ My grandkids thought that was pretty funny to play up those names. I couldn’t watch that.”
“It was trying to cater to an audience or trying to bring a certain audience to the game, and they didn’t know it was turning other people off,” Jackson said. “People want to see sports as non-political. Politics stays out of the game. It doesn’t need to be there.”
Jackson is an 11-time NBA champion coach, winning six titles as head coach of the Bulls in the ’90s and five with the Lakers in the 2000s. He is widely considered to be the top NBA coach of all time. He played 12 seasons in the league and won two NBA championships in the 1970s with the New York Knicks.
Rose was drafted in the first round of the 1994 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets and went on to play in the NBA for 13 years with six different teams.