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Mark Jackson

Former NBA Player and Head Coach

Surprised? We confidently bet this was not a name you’d expect to find on this list. Born in Brooklyn and carrying Dominican roots from his grandmother, Jackson’s trajectory to the NBA has New York written all over it. After becoming one of the nation’s leading point guards at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, Jackson’s exploits descended on Big East powerhouse St. John’s University in 1983, where he eventually teamed up with future NBA all-star Chris Mullin, and ultimately the mecca of basketball – Madison Square Garden – when the New York Knicks’ made him their first round pick in 1987. In his 17-year NBA career, Jackson played for seven teams and amassed 10,334 assists (currently 4th all-time) before retiring. After years of calling games for the YES and ABC networks, Jackson became head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 2011 and quickly infused his players with a defensive passion and game intensity that personified his playing years. In his three seasons Jackson guided them to their first consecutive playoff appearances (2012-13 and 2013-14) and 50+ win season (2013-14) in over 20 years. To our knowledge, this makes Jackson the first person of Dominican ancestry to become an NBA head coach.

Mark Jackson

Image credit- Steve Lipofsky/Corbis

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