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Will Galen
10-06-2004, 03:11 AM
http://www.indystar.com/articles/8/184144-2778-179.html

By Sekou Smith
sekou.smith@indystar.com
October 6, 2004

Stephen Jackson already has made clear his willingness to do whatever it takes to be a part of a winning team again -- including coming off the bench behind Indiana Pacers veteran Reggie Miller.

Jackson, who helped San Antonio win the NBA title in 2003, makes that sacrifice on the heels of a breakout season in which he averaged a career-high 18.1 points per game for the Atlanta Hawks.

"I have the utmost respect for Reggie and I honestly feel he should start," said Jackson, who was acquired in a July trade for Al Harrington. "(Miller) said this might be his last year, and I want him to go out the way he would love to, and that's with a championship."

Jackson said the opportunity to learn from Miller is one that he can't squander. "It's the opportunity of a lifetime," Jackson said, "one that I must take advantage of."

Jackson's dedication to his new teammates spreads beyond Miller.

"I'm going to knock somebody out for Jermaine (O'Neal) and knock somebody out for Ron (Artest) just like I'll knock somebody out for a guy on the (injured list)," Jackson said. "The guys have really embraced me. I know what I'm here for, and that's to keep this team together and get us to that next level. And I'm willing to give my heart and soul to make sure we get there."

Harrington's absence

Harrington's name has come up several times the past two days.

The Pacers' 1998 first-round pick is now a starting forward for the Hawks after spending the past six seasons as a reserve with the Pacers.

"It wasn't a move the team wanted to do," O'Neal said. "Al wanted that and rightfully so. You can't fault a guy for wanting more out of his career. I love Al to death, love him like a brother. But if you were going to trade a guy like Al, you had to get a guy like Stephen Jackson in return."

Harrington's departure also opens up playing time for Jonathan Bender and Austin Croshere, a side benefit that made the deal a no-brainer for Pacers president Larry Bird.

"I love Al Harrington," Bird said. "He was one of our hardest workers. But I could understand why he wanted to leave. He wanted to be 'The Man' and now he has that opportunity."

Warm-up act

Tuesday's birthday serenade of second-year swingman James Jones was the opening act for a rookie crew led by draft picks David Harrison and Rashad Wright.

Jones, whose birthday was Monday, smiled at the sight of someone else performing. Harrison and Wright were joined by fellow newcomers Desmon Farmer, Randy Holcomb and John Edwards. Last season, Jones had to work alone as the team's only rookie.

But Tuesday's performance was just the prelude to an even bigger show, according to O'Neal.

"My (26th) birthday is on the 13th (of October) and they're going to have to crank things up a little bit for that one," a smiling O'Neal said. "They're going to have to dress up and get a little crazy on the 13th."

SoupIsGood
10-06-2004, 05:32 AM
He talks about Ronnie, then says "these guy have really embraced me." Is Ron reaching out and showing a little love?

Shade
10-06-2004, 12:06 PM
Sounds like the team chemistry is really good right now. If it remains so, we have a very good chance of finally going all the way and getting Reg his ring.

Three years ago, did anyone here actually think Reg would get one more legit shot at a title before the end of his career?

BigMac
10-06-2004, 12:55 PM
Three years ago, did anyone here actually think Reg would get one more legit shot at a title before the end of his career?


Nice point. Nice perspective.

Ragnar
10-06-2004, 01:16 PM
You know I knew that Al would probably be traded and its not like it just happened but for me it is just sinking in that we will not see Baby Al on the floor for the Pacers again. I will miss his pulling the chair out D, and his enthusiasm.

Of course he was a bit of a ball hog so in that it will be good to lose him but still he grew up here and it is kind of sad to see him go.

NewType
10-06-2004, 02:26 PM
You know I knew that Al would probably be traded and its not like it just happened but for me it is just sinking in that we will not see Baby Al on the floor for the Pacers again. I will miss his pulling the chair out D, and his enthusiasm.

Of course he was a bit of a ball hog so in that it will be good to lose him but still he grew up here and it is kind of sad to see him go.

I 2nd the pull the chair move. I always love it when Al pulls someone's chair.

MagicRat
10-06-2004, 02:48 PM
OT-but IndyStar-related: I like the "One Goal" ads, but how hard would it be for The Star to print it without giving Reggie blue-green hair?.......