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Knicks should hire Jackson

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

The rumors have been swirling in the Big Apple. Will the New York Knicks hire former guard Mark Jackson as the team's new head coach?

My friends, Madison Square Garden has not been rocking and rolling in recent years when talking about the Knickerbockers. This franchise has been down, and it needs a big-time boost. The Knicks need a spark, something positive to happen and that would be the case if Donnie Walsh was able to hire Jackson as his coach.

I think everybody in New York has said this would be a perfect fit. I love listening to Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy as they do a terrific job calling ABC's NBA basketball telecasts. I feel Jackson has the mind of a leader; he also knows the ins and outs of the game.

I remember covering Jackson when he played at St. John's. I felt back then that after his playing career was over, he would make an excellent leader on the sidelines. He has a great basketball IQ, he loves New York City and understands what the Knicks are all about. He played there for almost seven seasons during two different NBA stints.

The Knicks made a great hire in Walsh. He is highly respected with great credibility and there is also a relationship from Jackson's days as a player with the Pacers.

The only question is whether Jackson wants to be a head coach. He has a family and life coaching in the NBA is not easy. It really is a year-round job, between being involved in the draft, free agency and communicating with players during the off-season. Jackson loves the Big Apple and I believe the New York fans would respond in a positive way to his hiring.

To me it is a slam dunk for the Knicks. When all is said and done, New York should announce Mark Jackson as the team's new coach.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.