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Thread: Mark Jackson Article

  1. #1
    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Mark Jackson Article

    http://www.indystar.com/articles/2/114026-8922-039.html

    Old guard just won't fade away
    By Mark Montieth
    mark.montieth@indystar.com
    January 23, 2004


    Mark Jackson is back in the NBA, as round and slow as ever, defying the odds as always.

    This time, though, it's different. This time, as he grows accustomed to the Houston uniform he'll be wearing when the Rockets play the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse tonight, he's got a new burden to deal with.

    A questionable reputation.

    For 15 seasons in the NBA, including 51/2 with the Pacers, Jackson was known mostly for his intelligence, leadership and unselfishness. He was proud and willful, yes, and always wore the faint trace of a chip on his shoulder, but his character remained in good standing.

    That 16th season in Utah, however, turned out to be thorny. He moved into second on the NBA's all-time assists list behind John Stockton while backing up Stockton, but left a trail of damaging whispers.

    Nobody went on the record with a complaint, but the buzz was that Jackson was a divisive influence, supposedly undermining coach Jerry Sloan and Stockton and trying to win over some of the reserves to his way of thinking.

    That, Jackson believes, had a lot to do with his inability to land an NBA job until this week, when Houston signed him to a 10-day contract.

    "Somebody was bad-mouthing me and trying to make me look bad," the 38-year-old Jackson said Thursday in a telephone interview. "It's sad that 16 years as a pro and trying to do it the right way can almost be ignored because of one person or one organization. That's ignorant to me."

    Jackson believes his willingness to fraternize with seldom-used players such as John Amaechi and DeShawn Stevenson, and his attempt to rally the reserves into a cohesive unit, was misinterpreted in Utah.

    "I'm not here to bad-mouth them because I'm not going to lower myself to their level," he said. "But at the same time, I'm not going to be sabotaged."

    The criticism isn't entirely new to Jackson. He had an unhappy departure from New York in 1992 after losing his starting job, and Jackson butted heads on occasion with Indiana Pacers coach Larry Bird during the 1999 lockout season. While their relationship was better during the Finals season that followed, they appeared to tolerate each other somewhat grudgingly.

    Jackson, however, has a strong ally in Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy, who worked with Jackson as an assistant coach in New York early in Jackson's career and then traded for him in February 2001 when he was the Knicks' head coach.

    Van Gundy, a diehard fundamentalist, saw Jackson as the perfect complement to his athletic but occasionally undisciplined starter, Steve Francis.

    Van Gundy says Jackson is "probably as slow laterally as any human who's ever played in the NBA," but the coach had no fear giving Jackson his ninth different opportunity with his seventh team.

    "I know who he is," Van Gundy told Houston reporters. "I know what he can do."

    So does Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, a teammate during Jackson's Rookie of the Year season in New York (1987-88) and the assistant coach in charge of the Pacers' offense for three seasons under Bird, when Jackson started at point guard.

    Jackson won over Carlisle during those seasons.

    "He's a strong personality, but what you have to understand is that type of strong will is what made him an impact player in this league when the whole world was betting against him," Carlisle said.

    "I can honestly say I learned a lot of basketball from Mark Jackson. There were times because of his leadership ability and judgment you just let him run the offense, because he knew where the ball should go and how it should get there. He also had a knack for giving players on his team confidence, and that's an intangible quality you can't teach."

    Jackson never lost faith while serving what he jokingly calls his own lockout. He took advantage of the added time with his family, which includes four children, at their home in the Los Angeles area. To stay reasonably sharp, he played with Magic Johnson's traveling team at a 24-hour health club and on the concrete courts in Santa Monica.

    "Guys were looking at me like I was crazy," he recalled. "Like I was an old crack addict who wouldn't let it go."

    He's played just one game with the Rockets, against the Knicks on Wednesday, but immediately reminded everyone why he's still in demand. Moving "like a crab with a bad case of arthritis," according to a Houston Chronicle columnist, and feeling "like I hadn't done it in 10 years" by his own admission, he made an impact. He played 15 minutes, passed out three assists and made the offense hum, contributing to Yao Ming's season-high 29-point effort by getting him open jump shots.

    "I think I need to get more eyes to see where he is going to pass the ball," Yao told the Chronicle. "There is a phrase from China that's similar to 'manna from heaven.' It is, 'Something good to eat falls from the sky.' When he passes, it's like that."

    Jackson is anxious to start feeding again. He doesn't know when and where it will end, but this time he expects to get out with a happy ending.

    Call Star reporter Mark Montieth at 1-317-444-6406.

    A look at the NBA's oldest active players:

    Player, team Age Birth date
    Kevin Willis, San Antonio 41 Sept. 6, 1962
    Karl Malone, L.A. Lakers 40 July 24, 1963
    Avery Johnson, Golden State 38 March 25, 1965
    Mark Jackson, Houston 38 April 1, 1965
    Horace Grant, L.A. Lakers 38 July 4, 1965
    Reggie Miller, Pacers 38 Aug. 24, 1965
    Scottie Pippen, Chicago 38 Sept. 25, 1965

  2. #2
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mark Jackson Article

    This is news to me


    and Jackson butted heads on occasion with Indiana Pacers coach Larry Bird during the 1999 lockout season. While their relationship was better during the Finals season that followed, they appeared to tolerate each other somewhat grudgingly.

  3. #3
    Pacer Junky Will Galen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mark Jackson Article

    This is news to me


    and Jackson butted heads on occasion with Indiana Pacers coach Larry Bird during the 1999 lockout season. While their relationship was better during the Finals season that followed, they appeared to tolerate each other somewhat grudgingly.
    He didn't like it that Bird played Travis Best with the game on the line.

  4. #4
    Member BigMac's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mark Jackson Article

    This is news to me


    and Jackson butted heads on occasion with Indiana Pacers coach Larry Bird during the 1999 lockout season. While their relationship was better during the Finals season that followed, they appeared to tolerate each other somewhat grudgingly.
    He didn't like it that Bird played Travis Best with the game on the line.
    Those two didn't get along at all. It really wasn't the Travis Best thing. It was that Jackson was HORRIBLE at playing defense and Bird emphasized defense. He was hard on Jackson regarding that and from what I heard, didn't stroke Jackson like maybe he should have.
    Two=the number 2
    Too=means "also"
    To=many definitions-also known as the one to use when the other 2 (two, too) do not apply.

    Their=shows ownership-'it is their house'
    They're=they are
    There=many definitions-also known as the one to use when the other 2 (their, they're) do not apply

    Sorry but it bugs me when these are used incorrectly when I read posts on PacersDigest.com.

  5. #5
    Member Ragnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mark Jackson Article

    This is news to me


    and Jackson butted heads on occasion with Indiana Pacers coach Larry Bird during the 1999 lockout season. While their relationship was better during the Finals season that followed, they appeared to tolerate each other somewhat grudgingly.
    He didn't like it that Bird played Travis Best with the game on the line.
    Neither did I.

    Jax is there to teach Steve Francis what a pg is suposed to do.

    It actually kind of worries me a bit because Jax has had our number since leaving. Of course Tins is far better now than he was the last two years.

    I bet Yao will score are will when Jax is in the game.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Mark Jackson Article

    Because, Mark, your inability to find a job this year has EVERYTHING to do with a giant conspiracy focused directly on you, and not the fact that you're too old, too slow, and can't shoot anymore. Get a clue.
    It couldn't have helped his case.

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