You’d call him wild, probably. Insane, maybe. A good basketball player, yes.
But, with Jackson, things are never that simple, never that cut and dry. He’s been on the wrong end of all types of incidents: The Palace Brawl, a late-night club incident where he sprayed bullets into the air to instill fear in an argumentative group but then was run over by a car, and finally the dismantling of the Golden St. Warriors franchise. Yet Jackson is a devout Baptist raised in a family where his grandfather not only went to church, but built one.
Jackson is the same man who was once told he couldn’t guest-read to children at a public library, where they were afraid of Jackson’s damaged persona. Once they did let him, though, after prodding, Jackson was so great with the kids that he has since seen his picture in the library’s annual report.
He got a tattoo, an inking on his body of two hands holding a gun next to a church window, reportedly to symbolize his hopes to never shoot a gun, yet is the same man who not only was carrying a gun with him in the wee hours of the morning, but shot it a few times too.
He is the man who prides himself on being a terrific teammate, yet tanked a few games earlier this season as his disgust with the Warriors franchise grew. He claims to be as loyal a person as they come, a person who has his people’s backs every step of the way, yet rewarded Golden St.’s faith in him (they offered him a long-term deal worth big money) by requesting a trade at the first sign of trouble.
He is a great talent as a basketball player, but was cut 15 times (by his count) before finally landing in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets.
Jackson never went to a four-year college, after failing to pass his board exams five separate occasions, but now runs a kindergarten-through-sixth-grade school dedicated to providing an educational foundation in his hometown of Port Arthur, Texas.
He was traded away by Golden St., but is now playing an essential role for a streaking Charlotte Bobcats team.
See, things are never simple with Jackson. One second, he’s a disruptive force tearing apart an entire organization; the next, he’s a galvanizing source of another team’s quest for the playoffs.
Stephen Jackson has been a captain, a criminal, the grandson of a deacon, a problem, a solution, and just about everything else.
Everything, that is, except predictable.
Things to look for in tonight’s game
Charlotte’s offensive woes
Jackson helps the Bobcats offensively, with such a miserably woeful group, he certainly isn’t enough to make anyone fear Charlotte’s offense. Still, this is a different crew than the Celtics saw in their 92-59 victory earlier this season. With Jackson, Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw, the Bobcats now have three long, versatile players capable of making plays. Still, I don’t think the C’s were up late last night having nightmares.
Kevin Garnett should have a field day
I just told you the Bobcats have a versatile set of long players who can make plays. Which is true. The only problem for the Bobcats is that one of those guys, Diaw, is probably going to have to defend Kevin Garnett. Diaw probably couldn’t even stick with Patrick O’Bryant in the post. (Note: That was called exaggeration. The air we breathe could defend Patrick O’Bryant. Simply letting him shoot does the trick nine times out of ten.) With the way Garnett is playing right now, he could spell a whole lot of trouble for a weak Bobcats front line.
The bench battle
Boston’s bench, like it is just about every game, is far more talented and physically imposing than its Charlotte counterparts. If they play well, the C’s should have a decided advantage of the second units. On the other side, Flip Murray (who didn’t play last time the two teams met) can flat-out score. He’s not shooting a great percentage, or really even a decent one (39%), but when Flip gets it going he can be tough to stop.