View Full Version : Nice article on SJax from NY

07-25-2004, 05:57 PM
Nothing new, but from the New York Times


July 25, 2004
Stephen Jackson Stands by Agent and Wins Big

NDIANAPOLIS, July 24 (AP) - Stephen Jackson sure was relieved when he signed a six-year, $38 million contract. And he was not the only one.

The agent Dan Fegan was heavily criticized when he and Jackson declined a multiyear deal from the San Antonio Spurs before last season and ultimately settled for a one-year, $1.1 million deal with the struggling Atlanta Hawks.

"In some respects it was a really difficult decision because it was met with such widespread criticism," Fegan said. "When you have the confidence in your own abilities and the confidence in your client's abilities, you can make it work."

Instead of heeding calls to fire Fegan, Jackson stuck with him, had a great season with the Hawks, signed the big contract and was shipped to the Indiana Pacers, which is where he wanted to be all along.

It's a story straight out of the movie "Jerry Maguire." The only thing missing is an adorable youngster.

Fegan called it the most challenging situation of his 15-year career.

"There were points when things looked grim," he said. "It was a rough start.

"There was some friction" - with Jackson - "but one of the truly amazing things about Steve is his resiliency. He's able to just bounce back. He handles adversity better than any person that I've just about ever met. He almost thrives on it in ways you can't teach people."

Jackson had plenty of practice.

Never knowing his biological father, the man in Jackson's home was an abusive drug addict who went to prison when Jackson was 13. When his older brother died a year later, Jackson became the man of the house.

"Responsibilities have weighed on me my whole life," Jackson said. "I've been at the bottom. I've lost loved ones, I've lost best friends, but that's part of life. I don't hide that."

The responsibility wore on him, and Jackson struggled with school while in Port Arthur, Tex., before transferring to the basketball power Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.

"I wasn't into school all that much," Jackson said. "I was the best basketball player, the only thing good in my hometown so everybody did everything for me.

"When I got to Oak Hill, I got a chance to learn," he said. "I learned a lot about myself, basketball and about school. If would have stayed in Texas, I probably wouldn't have graduated."

Jackson still wasn't able to score high enough on entrance exams to accept a scholarship offer from Arizona. He was drafted by Phoenix in the second round in 1997, but was cut in training camp.

He bounced around overseas and in the Continental Basketball Association for a few years before emerging as a force on the Spurs' 2003 championship team.

Jackson forged a reputation as a clutch shooter during the Spurs' run, and figured to cash in big on the free-agent market. But San Antonio's offer - three years, $9 million - was too low.

Jackson wanted to sign with Indiana, but the Pacers did not have enough salary cap space. That left the Hawks.

Fegan knew that Jackson had much more riding on the gamble.

"The hard part was the uncertainty," Fegan said. "I took the heat, but it wasn't changing where I lived, what I was eating, what I could afford to buy my mother and family."

There was some bitterness when Jackson first took the deal, but just as the fictitious Arizona receiver Rod Tidwell stayed with Maguire in the 1996 movie, he refused to leave Fegan.

"That's not the type of person I am," Jackson said. "If that's the case, when you go through your ups and downs in life, when you get in arguments with your friends, do you stop talking to your friends? You don't do that."

Being battered constantly in the news media for allowing Jackson to take such a big risk, Fegan started taking things personally.

"This made it personal because our backs were to the wall, and our backs were to the wall together," Fegan said. "I was charged with the responsibility of getting it done."

Once Jackson took care of his end of the bargain on the court - he led the Hawks with 18.1 points a game - Fegan delivered on his end.

He orchestrated a sign-and-trade deal that gave Jackson the financial stability he was looking for with a team that expects to contend for an N.B.A. title.

Instead of saying, "I told you so," to all of his critics, Fegan said he was thankful that everything worked out.

"There was always a possibility that I did make a mistake, that it wouldn't work out," he said. "It would have hurt me deeply, not for me and what I would've had to endure, but if it didn't work out for Steve, that would have been a very difficult thing for me."

The bottom line, Jackson said, is that Fegan showed him the money.

"Dan has a great rep with some people and he has a bad rep with some people, but he's my agent, and he's going to be my agent through thick and thin," Jackson said