The Indianapolis Star’s Bob Kravitz, yacking with the Pacers’ Stephen Jackson, who might be looking for another place of employ once Indy’s series with the Nets is over.
“I never know if they’re booing the call, or booing me.”
Chances are, it’s a little bit of both. For reasons that Jackson doesn’t completely understand, he has become the unofficial target of Indy’s basketball frustration. As the Pacers stand at the cusp of elimination, with his team trailing 3-2 and Game 6 tonight at Conseco Fieldhouse, Jackson continues to represent everything that has gone wrong with the Pacers the past two years.
And he hears the booing.
Says it doesn’t bother him, which is hard to imagine, but he hears it.
“I don’t know. They probably expect me to be Reggie (Miller),” Jackson said. “It ain’t gonna happen. We’re two different people. No way I could be him or replace him. If they want me to be Reggie, they need to find somebody else, because that ain’t me. I’m Stephen Jackson.”
“I know I’m a streaky player, and sometimes emotionally, I’m down, but one thing nobody can take from me is how hard I play or how much I love this game,” said Jackson, who chased his NBA dream all over the globe before making it in America. “If they like me, great. If they don’t, hey, I’m still breathing.”
It was odd how differently the protagonists were viewed in the wake of The Brawl with
Detroit Pistons fans Nov. 19, 2004.
Ron Artest came out of it as a flawed hero, a cult figure who was generally beloved by Indiana fans. But Jackson, who was the first into the stands to defend Artest? He came out of it viewed as a bad guy with a vicious streak whose emotions were beyond control.
“Still, to this day, I’m seen that way,” Jackson said. “I guess Ron’s a superstar, one of the best players in the league, and they’re not going to promote me like that. So I’ve got to take the fall for a lot of the stuff he created.
“People around me know I was just trying to be a good teammate. Before that night, I’d never been suspended for an incident, never been suspended for a fight, nothing. But they wanted to protect Ron’s image so he could be used in commercials and (promoted) as one of the game’s best players.”
“I don’t want to be in commercials, anyway,” he said.
Former NC State G Sidney Lowe, currently an assistant under Flip Saunders in Detroit, has reportedly agreed to become the Wolfpack’s new head coach.