"Tell you the truth, I'm surprised he got into coaching," says Fitch. "Not that he couldn't handle it, but because I thought he'd be a Bill Bradley type, maybe a senator from North Dakota." Says Holzman, "I still think he could go back and be governor of North Dakota." June Jackson suggests that her husband's secret dream is to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs in a Democratic administration of Bradley's, who is still a close friend. Jackson has a deep interest in Native American culture and is surely the only NBA coach with a Xeroxed copy of a postcard of Sioux sign language on his desk, right there next to Winter's Triple-Post Offense and John Wooden's Practical Modern Basketball.
"Well, I do want to do something worthwhile after basketball," said Jackson, "but I'm just not sure what it is. Everything comes with a price. Indian Affairs? Sure, it would interest me. But I've got time. I'll study my options."
Of course he will. A few summers ago, Jackson went to a Pentecostal service back in Bigfork just to please his mother. During the sermon the preacher began hammering upon the point that there were three sinners in the congregation, three influential men who had turned their back on the Lord by staying away from the church.
"Come forward now and save yourselves!" he shouted. "Come forward and receive the blessings of God!"
Jackson recognized the technique—Lord knows he had seen it enough—but he stared straight ahead. Two of the men finally gave in to the altar call and went forward to be saved. The preacher kept hammering away at the one who didn't. But Jackson stayed in his seat, expression unchanged.
"Sometimes you just have to harden your heart," he said later, "and wait it out."