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All of them were part of Jackson’s interviews.

“He’s the most experienced guy, frankly, we met in the entire process,” Lacob said. “I know that’s a funny line to say given some of the comments out there. He hasn’t been in the seat and been a head coach in the NBA. But if you look at experience, it’s the whole thing that counts. Can he be a leader? Will the players respect him? Can he handle the media in a big market like the Bay Area? I can go through any number of things.

“And Mark, to me, was the most experienced guy on that list of people we met. And it wasn’t even close.”

Becoming an NBA head coach was years in the making.

Jackson spent the past few seasons as the lead analyst for ESPN and ABC, and he will cross the country back to Miami to finish his duties at the NBA finals. He spent that time picking the brains of coaches around the league during exclusive meetings the network has before games.

Jackson interviewed for so many coaching vacancies he can’t even recall the exact number but said he was a finalist in Atlanta, New York and Minnesota. He emerged from a field of about a dozen candidates, Lacob said, and the years of frustration of being turned down were visible.

Jackson, who is also an ordained pastor in the Los Angeles area, started to tear up when speaking about the opportunity to be a first-time coach and completing his lifelong basketball dream. He used to listen to Knicks games on the radio as a kid, envisioning himself as the star player, broadcaster and coach.

“I became that player. I became that broadcaster,” he said. “And the last thing in line for me was coach.”