NBA star’s explosive religious claims
As the issue of religious freedoms becomes a hot topic in Australia, so too it seems it is in America.
Golden State Warriors star Andre Iguodala has made explosive claims about why former mentor Mark Jackson has not coached in the NBA since he left the franchise.
The 2015 NBA Finals MVP unloaded on ESPN's The Breakfast Club as he promoted his new book, alleging Jackson has been blacklisted by the NBA.
The reason? His religious views flying in the face of openly gay Warriors COO and League Hall of Famer Rick Welts.
Asked if he believed Jackson had been blacklisted by the league, Iguodala had the following to say. "I do," he said. "Yes. Absolutely."
Iguodala elaborated on his fondness for Jackson, who only coached him for one year, and exactly why his coaching career had come to an abrupt end.
"He was one of my favourite coaches of all time," Iguodala said.
"It was like, come in, compete, play hard. He was going to put you in the best position to get the most money."
Jackson led the Warriors to back-to-back playoff berths. And suddenly he was out of a job. The closest he's gotten to another league job is his current position as a broadcast analyst for ABC/ESPN.
Iguodala said Jackson, an ordained minister, offered church services to the players. "We had a team of believers," Iguodala said. "We were going to church regardless."
Iguodala also said Jackson would conduct streaming church services on Wednesday night in the team facility in Oakland.
"It would be around 7 o'clock at night," he said. "There was nobody in there. But I feel like the politics, man - you know how it is. Once they want you out, they're going to find something."
According to Iguodala, the Warriors did: "One particular issue was, from what I heard, his views on gender or marriage, or what the Bible said about your sexuality."
Welts, who is famous for creating All Star Weekend, was a valuable executive on the team's business side. "He just went in the Hall of Fame," Iguodala said.
"He was the brains behind All-Star weekend. He's celebrated as one of the top execs in sports."
But Iguodala implied his beliefs conflicted with Jackson's. "So there were conflicts with that," Iguodala said. "It was widespread. Everyone was talking about that."
Jackson for his part has remained silent on the issue since Iguodala's comments but even at the time of his dismissal in 2014 he was tagged as "difficult" by Warriors owner Joe Lacob.
"Part of it was that he couldn't get along with anybody else in the organisation," Lacob said of dismissing Jackson at the time.