Who better to come in and offer the ailing, softer-than-tissue-paper Clippers some assistance on the wing than the thug that “makes love to pressure” and took a shot at Stevie Franchise’s adams apple in the club last summer?
(skip to 25:36 and let Stak motha’fuckin 5 in the motha’fuckin building cue you in.)
I certainly can’t think of anyone else…From a purely basketball standpoint, the fact Jackson didn’t have an NBA job going into this season is perplexing in itself. Past his prime? Indeed— but even at 35 there is no denying the fact that Captain Jack still balls hard enough to be a viable third or fourth option for most teams in this years highly questionable NBA. Something Los Angeles’ red-headed step-squad will need him to be– if they intend to stay in the upper-echelon of the western conference–until white-boy gorgeous and good ‘ol Matty Barnes are ready to return to action. As Chuck often says, all contenders need a “crazy.” And two, my friends, is better than one.
However, when a front office is deciding who’s going to wear their uniform into battle, their decision-making process far exceeds a purely basketball standpoint. Which is precisely why Lob City’s newest addition found himself on the unemployment line until now.
Be it a tweet, a punch, or a foul, ‘countless’ comes to mind as the best word to describe the amount of times in which the nomadic vet’s irreverent behavior has landed him on the receiving end of league-issued punishment. Add that to some assault charges and loose late night interpretation’s of the second amendment and boom! this guys’ file has more red flags than the house of king da ka–rendering his perceived value an odds-on match for veteran’s minimum free agency limbo.
Anyone who operates under the public’s watchful eye is subject to criticism for their actions—and those who wear their heart on their sleeve have a penchant for reacting in a way not everybody is going to like. These circumstances seemingly worked as the perfect storm to cultivate Jackson’s undesirable reputation. In “Notorious” the 2009 biopic about Biggie Smalls, when talking about Tupac, Biggie says “ask 10 people who Pac is and get 10 different answers.” And I’d venture to say the same is true for the former Mcdonalds All-American. Unfortunately, our world has a tendency to define individuals by their darkest moments, and a few missteps by the man in question have cast a massive shadow over all things Stephen Jackson. A shadow that was seemingly all GM’s could see when considering–or choosing not to consider–the underrated bucket machine. Luckily for him, and his super-fans like myself, the Clips were willing to “roll the dice” and resuscitate his career.
While he may not have raised any eyebrows in last night’s underwhelming debut, playing just 12 minutes and registering a goose-egg in the points column on 0-for-3 shooting, LAC will still benefit a great deal from this acquisition. In honor of his return to the hardwood, and in the name of his relatively unheralded rap game, we’ve compiled a “STAK5″—Five bits on the colorful swingman that paint an entirely different portrait than the one he is most commonly associated with…
1. Stephen Jackson the Poet: Stak5
Check out his Ni**az in Paris freestyle…I’ll take the “Let’s go man, fuck a lock-out man, they always finin’ me for shit man, I’m still out here ballin” intro over a guttural Weezy chuckle any day of the week.
“Ball so hard mo’fuckas do find me…add it up..ask Jack if I give a fuck…” Dope. Who knew Stevie spit flames? …here’s some more:
2. Stephen Jackson the teammate: Malice at the Palace.
Rumble, young man, rumble. Look at the maniacal walking definition of “ride or die” go. Right after Big Ben shoved then-Ron-Artest-now-Metta-World-Peace, Jackson was the first man to hop in the mix, as the eventual brawl headed over to the scorers table, the homie untucked his jersey and prepared to square up with anybody who had something to say to his team as he verbally informed Motown they had just fucked with the wrong bull. Next thing we know, Artest ran into the crowd, and who else but Mr. Jackson was right behind him, throwin’ hands and protecting his brother in blue. The incident cost him 30 games and over three-million bones, yet he still says he’d do it again, because, his words: “at the end of the day i’d rather wake up the next morning with half of my teeth gone and all my teammates, family, and friends are home safe…and we’ll deal with the consequences later.”
A testament to his unparalleled courage and understanding of what it truly means to be a friend. Who in their right mind doesn’t want a guy like that on their team? #HitEm with that loyalty, brother.
Before we move on, I’d like to dedicate a quick quote to all the stiff shit-eaters out there who are of the belief his actions were unprofessional, or classless and he should’ve instead stood there looking like he just walked in on his grandparents bumping uglies: “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”
3. Stephen Jackson the MVP candidate: 2009-2010 season with the Bobcats
Jackson averaged 21.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 3.6 APG, while leading the most incompetent franchise in league history to their first–and only–playoff appearance. He also finished 12th in MVP voting that year, despite being snubbed of an all-star bid.
4. Stephen Jackson the philanthropist.
Ever hear of the Stephen Jackson Academy of Art, Science, and Technology? It’s a place dedicated to encouraging underprivileged kids to move confidently in the direction of their dreams as opposed to in the direction of the back ally and a street corner. He also created the Jack 1 foundation, an organization with similar goals, and has been acknowledged by the NBA and many of the cities he’s played in for his unwavering commitment to engaging in community service on community service on community service.
5. Stephen Jackson the childhood hero.
Stephen Jackson is my 2nd favorite basketball player of all time(Reggie Miller, number one in my heart, forever and always.)Here’s why:
When I was 12 years old I went to Madison Square Garden, to watch my Pacers take on the Knicks, wearing Jackson’s Jersey. Still depressed I’d never get to see Reggie play again, as he’d retired one year earlier, I didn’t really have a favorite player. Then the NBA’s Doc Holliday of sorts came along and, in classic Doc Holliday fashion, essentially said “I’m your huckleberry.”
Pops had procured some pretty epic seats for the game, five rows back behind the hoop, if memory serves. During pre-game warm-ups, he affirmed his appreciation of my support with an “I see you, dog” point and nod. A cool gesture that made a young fan happy—he didn’t stop there. Just before the tip, a Pacer’s assistant came up to me with Jackson’s official game worn arm-band. Less than three inches of clothe that made my night, and I have kept to this very day. But more importantly, a real-life example of what kind of person he really is. And while the police reports may indicate otherwise, I’m not alone in believing he’s a great dude. Even the NBA’s best role model, Tim Duncan has called Jackson the “ultimate teammate.” And, on that note, I’d like to extend a cold and malicious suck my ass to all Stak5 haters everywhere. #HitEm
P.S. check out the man, goin’ Kendrick on all his fellow NBA rappers: