In the days leading to Wednesday's game in New York, Mark Jackson said it was just another game on the Warriors' schedule.
He couldn't maintain that stoic position once he got off the team's bus and was back in Madison Square Garden - the place he called home for seven of his 17 NBA seasons. He lit up with a grin, grabbed his wife's hand and appeared as though he wanted to start skipping with glee.
There was officially closure to his trio of lifelong professional dreams.
"This is something I dreamt about, so it's special," the Warriors' head coach said hours before his squad faced the team for which he used to play. "I didn't know how it was going to hit me, but this is a special place. It was part of my dreams as a kid, and to have an opportunity to fulfill those dreams as a player, an announcer and now as a coach, is an incredible blessing."
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Queens, Jackson grew up a fan of Earl "The Pearl" Monroe and fantasized about playing guard for the Knicks, just like his idol. After attending Bishop Loughlin Memorial High and St. John's University, Jackson played a portion of seven season with New York - leading the Knicks to the playoffs six times and to a .522 regular-season winning percentage.
Jackson's 10,334 career assists rank as the third most in NBA history.
He said he enjoyed talking to some reporters who covered him when he was "just a kid," and roaming the bowels of the Garden to find some security guards who have been working here for three decades.


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