ESPN broadcaster Mark Jackson says his company disrespects Golden State’s opponents with ads focused only on a Warriors team loaded with talent.
Jackson said ESPN’s advertising for Friday night’s Warriors/Grizzlies game only talked about players like Steph Curry and Kevin Durant while ignoring a fun Grizzlies team that had already beat Golden State in a blowout last month. He talked about the marketing bias early in the game with Golden State up by six in the first quarter.
Here’s what Jackson had to say:
“I’m watching TV promoting Wednesday’s game, Portland at Golden State and then tonight’s game Memphis at Golden State and the commercial says ‘Who’s it gonna be: Dray. Clay. Steph. KD. Who’s gonna go off tonight? Grizzlies. Warriors.’
OK. Are you kidding me? Let’s show some respect to the opposition. Whether it’s Damian Lillard. Whether it’s CJ McCollum. Whether it’s Marc Gasol. Mike Conley. There’s more to pump up a game than four players from a particular team. When I was coaching the opposition’s team, I’d end the pregame meeting with that commercial by our very own ESPN.”
Mike Breen asked if Jackson had actually done that before, and Jackson reitereated how insulted he would be as the coach of the Grizzlies.
“I would absolutely end the meeting with that commercial and say ‘How disrespectful to us,’” Jackson said. Breen also asked if that kind of ad would have offended him as a player.
“Absolutely,” Jackson said. “It’s a joke. And it’s nothing against the Warriors. And I’m talking about this is a game, in the NBA. The other team has quality players.”
Perhaps that ad campaign gave Memphis a little extra motivation on Friday night. They came back from a 19-point fourth quarter deficit to beat the Warriors in overtime, their second win against Golden State this season. This loss was so shocking a frustrated Draymond Green did the ‘I’m not mad, I’m actually glad this happened” routine in postgame.
So it turns out ESPN was right. Draymond went off, but the Grizzlies won anyway.