Summer 2024

Broadcaster Mark Jackson departs ESPN knowing God 'has always sustained me'

ESPN’s lead NBA broadcast team of Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy is no more after Jackson and Van Gundy were let go in the network’s latest round of layoffs. The trio called 14 NBA Finals together and were some of the most well-known members of ESPN’s NBA coverage.

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Jackson announced his departure in a July 31 social media post. The 17-year NBA veteran and 1987-88 Rookie of the Year originally joined ESPN in 2006.

“Although shocked and dismayed with the suddenness of it all, I would like to thank ESPN and all the staff of the NBA ESPN crew for allowing me to be part of the organization for the past 15+ years,” he wrote. “I would also like to thank the NBA fans watching at home and in the arenas throughout the league for all of your support. To the NBA, a heartfelt thank you for allowing a kid to continue to accomplish his dreams.”


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At the end of his statement, Jackson — who became an ordained minister during his NBA career — gave glory to God and expressed confidence in the Lord’s plan for him.

“I leave ESPN with nothing but gratitude, all the while knowing that my highest praise goes to God!” he wrote. “Through it all, He has always sustained me and His grace allows me to know that there are greater blessings ahead. I look forward to what He has in store next.”

Jackson spent most of his playing career with his hometown New York Knicks and later the Indiana Pacers, making the All-Star Game in 1989 and leading the league with 11.4 assists per game in 1996-97. He retired in 2004 and is sixth on the all-time assists list.

In 1999, Jackson was featured on the cover of Sports Spectrum Magazine and talked about using his status as a professional athlete to point people to God.

“I want to be used so [the spectator] can see that the peace I have has nothing to do with me; it’s due to the grace of God,” he said in the magazine feature. “I want to be a light in a dark world.”

Jackson left ESPN in 2011 to become the head coach of the Golden State Warriors. He posted a 121-109 record in three seasons with the team, and led Golden State to the playoffs in his final two seasons. During his time with the Warriors, Jackson also served as a pastor at True Love Worship Center International.

He returned to ESPN when the Warriors parted ways with him in 2014, and resumed his role alongside Breen and Van Gundy.

As he gets ready for whatever the next step of his journey will be, Jackson is putting everything in God’s hands.

“I think that’s all He wants — for us to surrender, open up our arms and say, ‘Have Your way with me in my life,'” Jackson said in the magazine feature. “‘Do as You want. Use me any way You see fit to glorify You.’ It has nothing to do with who I am or what I can do. I just want to be used, and in turn, save somebody else.”

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