Stephen A. Smith is going full-throated in his defense of Mark Jackson.
Last week, it was revealed that the longtime NBA analyst would not be taking a part-time role on the Knicks’ broadcast team, with The Post’s Andrew Marchand reporting it was due to the team not allowing him to fly on its plane over a pre-existing issue with a member of the coaching staff.
The former Golden State Warriors coach and ESPN analyst angrily refuted the idea he was fired in an Instagram video on Thursday, saying, “at some point, the lies have got to stop.”
The Post report did not state that Jackson was fired and the former point guard did confirm the job did not work out because the conditions were not “ideal.”
For Smith, it was the latest — and seemingly final — insult his longtime friend would have to endure.
“What’s been happening to him and what has been happening to him is utter bulls–t,” he said on “The Stephen A. Smith Show” on Friday. “And y’all are full of s–t — and you know exactly who the hell im talking to when I say that.
“Every chance you get, you throw out rumors about him. I’m not even gonna denigrate or sully his name by bringing up what those rumors have been over the years — it’s spanned years! Even if those rumors were true, oh, it was years ago. It was years ago.”
Smith hearkened back to Jackson’s stint as head coach of the Warriors, in which he coached Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in their early NBA years.
Jackson was fired by the Warriors in 2014 after going 121-109 in three seasons, and while he’s often been rumored to be among coaching candidates for numerous open jobs since — including the Knicks — he’s yet to land one.
Smith indicated why he thinks that is.
“It would have been enough to get another job but for somehow, some way for some reason, Mark Jackson gets ostracized,” he said. “It really pisses me off it really does because it’s grotesquely unfair. This man 98 and 66 his last two seasons coaching in Golden State, 2012 to 2014, and can’t get another job all of these years really but nobody wants to bring that up because every time he comes close it — could be Sacramento, it could be New York, it could be somewhere — there’s always some damn rumor that’s coming out.”
While he wouldn’t get into specific rumors surrounding Jackson or their veracity, Smith did claim to know several folks working in professional sports who were fired for nefarious reasons only to land on their feet with new jobs.
He’s “sick and damn tired” of Jackson, who was also let go by ESPN earlier this year, not getting the same treatment.
“Stephen A Smith would not be saying anything if I looked around and I saw that this happens to everybody ’cause fair is fair, but we know that ain’t true,” he said. “It’s happening to him. Now, I know some of you saying ‘where he going with this oh he going to bring up race?’ No, ’cause I don’t have to. Like I said it ain’t happening to anybody else.
“Why is it happening to him? You literally got people trying to keep this man from being employed, lying on him at every turn, embellishing stories, or even if they’re telling the truth about some things, stuff from years ago, like they can move on from their past but he can’t y’all are full of shit and your day is going to come. Because a lot of people may not know who you are but I do. Remember that. Remember that.”