This is an article from the Jan. 30, 2012 issue
The first-time head coach is 5--10, as of Sunday, but his young team has been in almost every loss until late in the fourth quarter, and he's especially proud of their uniforms.
DAN PATRICK:Did you tell Dwight Howard that he would look good in a Golden State uniform?
MARK JACKSON: That's not what I said. That would be tampering.
DP:What did you say?
MJ: He was talking to me, and I said, "Boy, our jerseys look fantastic. What incredible uniforms we have."
DP:But not on him, right?
MJ: No, I did not say that. I was just saying the fashion statement we were making was clear.
DP:There are rumors that the Warriors are pursuing Howard.
MJ: I don't know anything about that, and I've been involved in talks about everything. I know we continue to attempt to get better, and any options that will make us a better basketball team, we are more than willing to pay attention to.
DP:The Warriors have beaten the Bulls and the Heat. Which team is better?
MJ: Chicago is a disciplined team with a superstar in Derrick Rose. The thing that hurts [the Bulls] is their lack of ability to score in the paint. With Miami, you have two of the best players in the world. If I had to go out on a limb, I would say the Heat have the edge because of the two talented guys.
DP:Now that you're with Golden State, who's your favorite football team?
MJ: I used to have the Dolphins with Dan Marino. Since then, I've gone year to year.
DP:Are you saying that because you jumped on the Niners' bandwagon?
MJ: I do have a relationship with coach Jim Harbaugh. I respect the job he's done. They defend first and foremost.
DP:A guy has to defend to play for you, right?
MJ: He has to be committed to playing defense. You can tell guys who are going through the motions.
DP:Do you have guys who fake hustle on defense?
MJ: Oh, yes. I had to tell the guys during a timeout I don't need a choir of "my bads." Every time they come over, "My bad, Coach, my bad." That's not what I'm looking for. Find a way to get it done.
DP:You also beat the Cavaliers. What do you think of rookie Kyrie Irving?
MJ: He's going to be a special basketball player. He plays with extreme confidence. There's no question he's going to be a top five point guard in this league for a long time to come.
DP:Michael Jordan thinks Kobe Bryant deserves to be compared to him. But only Kobe. You said that years ago.
MJ: People thought I was crazy. That's a heck of a compliment coming from Michael Jordan. They're clearly the two best shooting guards to ever play the game. They both have the mentality that they're willing to die on the court.
DP:Did Jordan talk trash to you?
DP:What did he say?
MJ: "You can't guard me." That's not trash talk. That's a fact.
DP:How about Kobe?
MJ: The same thing: "You can't guard me." I can remember telling Reggie Miller in the 2000 Finals as Kobe was heating up, "Let me get him one time." I wanted to hammer him. He blew by me and hit a jumper, and I looked back and told Reggie, "You get him now."
Fox's Tony Siragusa thinks his former teammate Ray Lewis faces a tough decision about how much longer he wants to play after the Ravens' loss in the AFC title game. "[Lewis] made some great plays against the run," Siragusa told me. "But [the Patriots] tried to take advantage of him and the step he's lost by using underneath routes and isolating him on faster players." ... New Rams coach Jeff Fisher wants to focus on the run game and pass protection on offense. Fisher insists his QB Sam Bradford is completely on board with what appears to be a more conservative approach. "Sam is excited about the direction we're going," Fisher said... . NBC's Cris Collinsworth didn't completely buy John Elway's statement that Tim Tebow will be the Broncos' starting QB heading into next season. "Our job in the media is to say here's what they said, here's what they meant," Collinsworth told me. "[Elway] thinks [Tebow] should be given a chance to be the quarterback, but [the Broncos] are going to keep looking. [Their] shopping cart is not full at the quarterback position."