- Cindy Ord/Getty
- The New York Knicks have concluded their interviews to fill their head coaching vacancy.
- The Knicks interviewed 11 candidates with varying backgrounds.
- ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith went on an impassioned rant calling for the Knicks to hire Mark Jackson, citing a need for a culture change.
The New York Knicks have concluded the interviews for their vacant head coaching position and hope to make a final decision later this week, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Knicks interviewed at least 11 people for the position, but if you ask ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith about those, there is only one candidate that matters – Mark Jackson – and he explained why during a 20-minute impassioned rant to open his radio show on Tuesday.
“LET ME BE VERY CLEAR!” Smith said (emphasis his). “I’M PRETTY TICKED OFF. I AM NOT HAVING A GOOD DAY!”
Smith directed his ire at ten of the 11 candidates, noting that he knows they can coach, but saying that is not enough for the Knicks. He explicitly called out former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt, saying, “We have to sit here and wonder if the answer for all of this is David Blatt?”
Instead, for Smith, it comes down to the team’s culture, how many other teams like the Rockets and Celtics have successfully changed theirs, and how it needs to change with the Knicks.
“When I sit up and raise holy hell in support of Mark Jackson as the next head coach for the New York Knicks, ladies and gentlemen, I am not just talking about coaching,” Smith said. “I am talking about a culture changer. I’m talking about, for once, seeing someone stand before the cameras in New York, KNOWING THEY ARE ONE OF US AND HAVING THIS BELIEF IN YOUR SOUL THAT THIS PERSON IS THE RIGHT MAN BECAUSE HE GETS US! That’s Mark Jackson. And why is that needed? Because James Dolan is the boss. Because Madison Square Garden and the business enterprise it is, HOVERS OVER THIS FRANCHISE LIKE A DAMN VIRUS! … YOU NEED A CULTURE CHANGE!”
You can listen to the entire 20-minute rant at ESPN, but here is a condensed 5-minute version with the best moments.