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Zach Lowe: Former Warriors Coach Mark Jackson Tried to Turn Teammates Against Festus Ezeli

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Grantland's Zach Lowe relays a story about hard times in Festus Ezeli's sophomore season in the NBA and how his own coach tried to turn his team against him. Ezeli, being a giant teddy bear, handled things just how you'd think.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Festus Ezeli day continues here at Anchor of Gold thanks to a story from Grantland's Zach Lowe. Lowe reports that former Golden State coach Mark Jackson tried to galvanize the Warriors roster by turning them against an injured Ezeli - a strategy that failed to pan out.

Kerr overhauled a team culture that had grown poisonous, for well-documented reasons, under Jackson and his assistants. In his zeal to motivate players, Jackson fostered resentment among them and toward the front office. He fired two assistants, requested Jerry West stay away from practices, and asked a younger front-office official to stop rebounding for players, sources have said.

When Ezeli was injured last season, Jackson and his staff told the healthy players that Ezeli was cheering against them — so that he would look good, according to several team sources. Players confronted Ezeli in a meeting, and he wept at the accusation — which he denied.

- Zach Lowe, Grantland.com

This is literally the first negative thing I've ever seen written or said about Festus Ezeli, and, as it turns out, it's most likely untrue. You can read more about Jackson's divisive coaching strategies over at Grantland and come to your own conclusions.

As for Ezeli, the former Vanderbilt center cleared things up with his teammates and rehabbed his injury before returning to the Warriors for the 2014-15 season. He came back to big a major presence off the bench behind Andrew Bogut and his post play led to some highlight reel moments in the NBA Finals, including this dunk:

I have to believe that his teammates like him just fine.