Mark Jackson, the former NBA point guard and member of ESPN’s NBA television broadcast crew is the latest member of the network’s reporting and commentary staff to be let go. Jackson’s resignation is shocking to many because he had been with ESPN for over fifteen years and his contract was still two years away from expiring.
According to recent reports, the network also just let go of Jeff Van Gundy to make way for possible successors Doris Burke and Doc Rivers. These alterations represent a major personnel shift for ESPN’s NBA coverage group.
Doc Rivers replaces Mark Jackson at ESPN 31 years after replacing him on Knicks
ESPN has made some major changes to its NBA coverage crew, including the recent dismissals of Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy. During the NBA Finals, they worked alongside analyst Mike Breen. ESPN is actively working to replace them with new hosts Doris Burke and Doc Rivers. Back in 1992 Doc Rivers had replaced Mark Jackson on Knicks and now once again he replaced him on ESPN.
1992: Doc Rivers replaces Mark Jackson on Knicks
2023: Doc Rivers replaces Mark Jackson at ESPN pic.twitter.com/WTagUf2uHM
— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) July 31, 2023
While Jackson and Mark Jones were initially considered for a spot on the “B” team, ESPN officials have been so delighted with JJ Redick and Richard Jefferson as game analysts that they want to give them more games to work on.
This might leave Jackson as a candidate for the “C” team. In addition, ESPN saw that Jackson’s success was linked to Van Gundy’s, which made Jackson’s exit from the team more plausible. Burke and Rivers, on the other hand, are well-liked by the league’s administration, and Rivers has extensive connections in the media. While nothing is set in stone, it looks like ESPN will be taking this route with their top NBA club.
Mark Jackson breaks silence on his dismissal from ESPN
After his unexpected termination from ESPN, NBA commentator Mark Jackson has spoken out, thanking his coworkers and wishing the best to his successors.
Jackson sent a statement on social media in which he expressed gratitude to his coworkers, referring to them as “legends” and “brothers.” His sister, Lisa Salters, was described as a “GOAT” by him. Jackson was a mainstay of ESPN’s NBA coverage for over 15 years, so his dismissal came as a surprise to many.
“It’s been an honor to sit beside two LEGENDS in the business who are like brothers to me, Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy… Lisa Salters is a GOAT and like a sister to me and I’m proud of the work she continues to do.” he stated.
— Mark Jackson (@MarkJackson13) August 1, 2023
Network executives decided to bring on former Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers and ESPN analyst Doris Burke in place of him and Van Gundy. Jackson’s future with the coverage team seemed to be in jeopardy when Van Gundy was let go. Unfortunately, the era of Breen, Van Gundy, and Jackson on television has ended and a new era shall begin.