Stephen Jackson and Gregg Popovich are straight shooters.
Just ask Cap’n Jack, now a popular NBA analyst on ESPN, what he thinks of current Nets wingman DeMarre Carroll’s comments about the Raptors, his former employer, or bring up President Donald Trump around the Spurs coach.
Scout reveals what he loved (and didn’t love) from 10 rookiesSUMMER LEAGUE:
Knowing that, it’s no surprise Popovich’s pitch to Jackson was as clear cut as they come when the two crossed paths back in 2001. Popovich knew he could use the 6-8, 220-pound Port Arthur, Texas native, but he also knew there was one obstacle keeping San Antonio from acquiring Jackson’s services.
Jackson, who played with the Spurs in Summer League after spending his rookie season in New Jersey, recently relayed the story on the “Ryen Russillo Show” on ESPN Radio.
“I remember playing great and after the last game, we were just sitting there and Pop was like, ‘I need to talk to you,'” Jackson said. “He was like, ‘Jack, you had a great Summer League. You’re playing well. I really want you on my team, but there’s only one way that you gone make my team – during the season, you can’t smoke weed, Jack. You just can’t do it. I need you focused. I need you on your game because you know we have a chance to win a championship. I need you focused.'”
“Once he told me that, I shut it down,” Jackson said. “The NBA was way more important than weed. Trust me.”
It all worked out just as Popovich said it would. Over the course of the 2003 NBA postseason, Jackson started in all 24 of the Spurs’ playoff games, averaging 12.8 points and 4.1 rebounds to help the franchise capture its second title. Passing on puffing weed wasn’t a concession Jackson would’ve made for just anyone.
Russillo: “Does that mean that the next GM that signed you, if he didn’t ask you that question, that that wasn’t a rule you had to follow?”
Jackson: “We had to have that talk first. Let me know my role.”
Source: Sporting News
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