Marc Jackson was born and raised in North Philadelphia in a home without heat and running water. It wasn’t until he was 15 that he realized that someone could make a living by playing basketball. A former Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year at Temple University and a former 76er, Jackson has been proudly honoring Philadelphia since his basketball beginning.
“I played at Temple, I played with the Sixers, I’m pretty much a Broad Street kid,” Jackson said. “So, every time I put that uniform on, it was personal for me. I wasn’t the fastest guy, I wasn’t the highest jumper, but I knew I had the backs of thousands when I stepped on that court.”
On Monday, Feb. 6, Jackson, currently a 76ers TV analyst for NBC Sports Philadelphia, joined “Pizza With the Pros” to talk about his basketball career. In a last-minute speaker change, he replaced Ava Graham, assistant brand manager at SportsRadio 94WIP. Graham will be rescheduled for a later date.
The 6-foot-10-inch center played high school basketball at Roman Catholic High school before going on to play one year at Virginia Commonwealth University. He then transferred to Temple — just around the corner from where he grew up.
Following two successful seasons with the Owls, Jackson declared for the 1997 NBA draft and was selected No. 37 overall by the Golden State Warriors. However, Jackson forewent the NBA because he sought out overseas teams who would offer more money than the NBA would for a second-round draft pick.
“I wanted to go to the highest bidder because basketball was my life,” he said. “That’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t care where I played as long as I got paid to play, and as long as I was having fun.”
Jackson inked a deal with a Turkish club and became the highest-paid player in Europe to have never played in the NBA. He spent a total of three seasons with different European teams before beginning his Warriors career in 2000.
Jackson played seven seasons in the NBA for five franchises. He spent the 2003 and 2004 seasons with his hometown Sixers.
“When I played for the Philadelphia 76ers I knew I wasn’t just representing me — I knew I was representing the city of Philadelphia,” Jackson said. “I played for so many people. So, it was an honor to play for the 76ers. I knew so many people had made it because I’d made it. So me wearing a 76ers uniform… the pressure was real and I loved every minute of it.”
Jackson now takes on a different role with the Sixers as a pre and postgame analyst. While it’s common for former players to turn to TV after their playing career, making the change is far from a simple task. Since retiring in 2009, Jackson has spent most of his time covering the Sixers with NBC Sports Philadelphia, while also dabbling in college basketball analysis.
“The biggest transition was I had to take myself out of, ‘I’m not a player no more, I’m not a player no more,’ and that’s a hard pill to swallow, that’s a real hard pill to swallow,” he said.
Next Monday, Feb. 13, the sports communication and media program will make an announcement at “Pizza With the Pros” concerning future wide-ranging opportunities for students. There will be multiple guest speakers to complement a surprise announcement from Rowan’s sports communication and media department.
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