I’m back from P.A.T. I sat down with Stephen Jackson and told him several bloggers sent me questions for him. He happily answered all of them, to my surprise.
Now I didn’t ask all of them, as I was under time constraints. Some questions were redundant and some of you were being greedy. But I asked most of them. Here is the transcript from YOUR interview with Stephen Jackson.
What would you like to be able to say about your basketball career and your life once you’ve reached the end of both and can reflect back on the journey? – Joe F
“I would like to be remembered as – professionally, as far as basketball wise – I want to be remembered as somebody who appreciated the game and gave 110 percent. As a person, I want to be remembered as a guy who didn’t forget where he came from and always put God and family first.”
How do you feel about having no future with your current team beyond your contract and very probably none beyond next summer? – ROWELL
“It’s something I always think about, but I feel real confident that I will have it soon. I will get something done soon, before the season starts.”
MY FOLLOW-UP: Does it bother you being the Warriors’ fifth highest-paid player?
“It’s definitely something that has to be addressed because of what I do for this team and what I’ve done since I’ve been here, bringing this team from one of the bottom teams in the league to a playoff team, to a team that won 49 games. It’s not what I want, it’s what I deserve. So in the position I’m in now, being the fifth-highest paid player, I feel like from the conversations I’ve had with the team is that it won’t be like that once the season starts. So even if I have to play my two years out and my extension comes two years after that, I’m happy with that. But I won’t be comfortable going into this season knowing I have to play this whole season being the fifth-highest paid. I would not be happy. But I don’t think that situation will occur. I think things will be taken care of before the season started.”
Did you ask to be traded? – ROWELL
“No. I have no idea where that came from.”
How will the identity of the Warriors change without last year’s leading scorer, leader and late-game shot-taker? – Haastheman
“Not only did we lose Baron, a great player, but we have a better team now. Instead of relying on one guy to do what Baron did, we have two or three guys who can fill that void. It’s going to be different not having him because Baron’s a celebrity, All-Star – He’s B. Diddy. There’s only one B. Diddy. But we’ve got a lot of guys to make up for it, but he’s definitely going to be missed.”
How did Baron affect your basketball career and life? – WarriOR FAN
“Losing B.D. always hurt me. That’s my boy – my brother more than my teammate.”
“He made my job easier. Having a guy like Baron, that’s less work I have to do. Baron, he takes up so much attention on the court and its easy for me to do my job. I think with Baron out there, I didn’t have to take on one of those roles of scoring and guarding every body. Now my role is probably like that now. But with Baron, a lot of the scoring load was taken off me because he’s such a great scorer. And he controlled the team and he was good at doing that.”
How many of those high-profile millionaire foundations are sustainable and how do you know yours will be truly successful? – Sad Jose
“A lot of people do foundations not from their heart. They do it because they feel it’s the right thing to do. I’m not doing a foundation ‘cause it’s the right thing to do. I’m doing a foundation because I know this foundation is going to help my city as well as help the youth in my city, and that’s my aim. That’s the only reason I’m doing the foundation ‘cause it’s a way I can give back to my city without coming out of my pocket and we’re doing it the right way with raising money. Any time someone is raising money for something , people will appreciate it more.”
At this point in your life, if you were given the choice to quit the NBA for $65 million or stay in the NBA for three million a year for the rest of his career, what would you choose? – Dub Sauce
“I’ll take the 65 and walk away. I only have, if God say the same, six or seven years left. That don’t add up to 65. From a business standpoint, I would be stupid not to take the 65. But at the same time, I love the game of basketball. Even when I retire, I’m gone play. But that’s a no-brainer.”
Has there been other “works” that have not been covered by the media or that the general public doesn’t know about? Or basically is this all for show? – Tru Warier
“It’s a lot of things I do. Before last year, I did a feed the homeless for Thanksgiving time, two years in a row. Me and Marquise Daniels did that event in Indiana. We fed 500 homeless people every Thanksgiving. That never got on the news. I come home and I get free backpacks and back-to-school stuff and do a back-to-school drive every year. This is my third year doing that. That don’t get publicized. It’s a lot of stuff. But like I say, I don’t do it for it to get noticed. I do it for the people that need it and they appreciate it more than anybody.”
Does seeing the affect that humility has had on the Olympic team make him question his own mindset when part of the Warriors? – Dan
“I feel like I should be out there. I really don’t feel like they picked the best players for the thing. I think they picked the guys that they feel like are the best role models in the NBA. Which is cool. But I don’t think they’re the best players. I think its guys who are gonna represent the NBA the best. And I understand that, because in the Olympics, you gotta have shooters to play that Euro style of game. That’s why the Euro teams are always successful because its their style. But I think anytime you have Kobe, Carmelo and LeBron on the same team, it’s impossible to lose. So, I think its great that they can put all their egos aside and play together because its good for the world to see. I know I enjoy watching them play.”
MY FOLLOW-UP: How would such a mentality impact the NBA?
“If guys can put their egos aside and play basketball, it shows they appreciate the game and they’re not just in it for the money. Obviously, everybody wants to get taken care of. But I know guys like me, the reason why I made it to the NBA is not only because I was blessed, but I take pride in the game. I love what I do. And if more guys looked at the game like that as far as loving the game and having a passion for it, there would be less egos.”
Have you heard a better sports quote than your own: “I make love to pressure”? – Daovis
“No. That’s the best. I know, especially being a man, every man thinks he’s the best love maker in the world. So when I feel like I’m in pressure. I caress it. I don’t buckle, I enjoy it. I enjoy being under pressure. That’s what I meant when I say it. I don’t think there’s a better saying than that. If someone can put handling pressure better than that, than I need to hear it.”
Do you honestly think this current team can make the playoffs and what does this team need to do to make the playoffs? – Commish
“First of all, I wouldn’t be a captain of the team saying we’re not going to make it. I shouldn’t even be on this team. I definitely think we’re going to make it. And the reason why is because not only did we lose an All-Star, but we got better as a team. We know we won 49 games and we’re a better team, so I definitely think we’re going to make the playoffs. And what its going to take to do that is guys putting their egos aside, everybody coming together and not worrying about who’s getting the praise for winning, not worrying about who’s making the All-Star game, not worrying about whose going to get Sixth Man or MVP. Just worrying about making it to the playoffs and playing for each other. Playing for Nellie, it’s easy to go out there and just play basketball because of the style he plays. We just need to go out there and play basketball, rely on each other, be on the same page and we’ll be all right because we’ve got everything we need.”
If you could change anything about your past in regards to basketball, what would it be and why? – Eastern Europe Warriors
“I don’t regret leaving San Antonio because I felt like that was the road I had to go down. There’s one thing I do regret – that’s not going to college. Because I missed out on a national championship my freshman year. I was supposed to go to Arizona and they won a national championship my freshman year. And there were some things that I wasn’t ready for when I got to the NBA as far as being mentally prepared. There’s a lot of stuff I could’ve learned in school that would’ve helped me grow and be mentally prepared for the NBA and paying bills and stuff like that. So I do regret not going to college. But as far as getting cut by teams, not staying in San Antonio, getting in trouble at the strip clubs, getting in the fight in Detroit – I don’t regret none of that because that made me the person I am today.”