Mark Jackson talks about Jeff Van Gundy Photo credit:

Mark Jackson believes holding referees accountable is at least one of the reasons why he’s no longer calling NBA games for ESPN.

Last year, ESPN made the surprising decision to replace Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy in their top NBA booth with Doris Burke and Doc Rivers. That booth now features Burke and JJ Redick alongside play-by-play voice Mike Breen after Rivers left ESPN for the Milwaukee Bucks head coaching job midseason. And the broadcast may be destined for another rebuild if Redick leaves for a head coaching gig.

Since departing from ESPN, Jackson launched a podcast on the Come and Talk 2 Me YouTube channel, calling it a “beautiful luxury” to have an outlet where he can criticize referees without getting a phone call. Jackson put that luxury on display during a recent podcast episode this week, blasting the league for its Last Two Minute Report.

“They don’t have to be great, I want them to be consistent,” Jackson said of NBA referees in the playoffs. “So, whatever way you’re calling it, call it both ways for 48 minutes. The second point, and probably my most important point. What I don’t need, and I’m tired of – and probably one of the reasons I’m not calling games anymore – the Last Two Minute Report.

“I don’t need a Philadelphia-Knicks series that you come out and say, ‘Three or four mistakes were made by referees.’…I hold players accountable for mistakes, I hold coaches accountable for mistakes, I’m gonna hold referees accountable for mistakes.”

While there has been a lot of chatter about the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report in recent days, the most interesting here is Jackson’s surmising his past criticism of league referees is part of why he’s no longer with ESPN.

It’s not a totally outlandish or even original take. During their time with ESPN, Jackson and Van Gundy earned reputations for calling out officials, while Breen is viewed as more of a referee apologist.

Around the departures of Van Gundy and Jackson, Bill Simmons, Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo and others floated the idea that league officials forced ESPN to make a change, at least with Van Gundy. NBA commissioner Adam Silver previously denied allegations that the league has any say over ESPN’s talent. But Jackson’s recent comments suggest he probably disagrees.

[The Mark Jackson Show]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to